Coping with peace : post-war household strategies in northern Mozambique
The objective of this thesis is to understand how poor farm households in developing countries are affected by and cope with the legacy of internal war. The theoretical analysis is based on a peasant household model for land abundant countries as war can be shown to weaken markets, re-enforce household subsistence and increase overall land abundance. The empirical analysis uses regression techniques and a household survey from post-war northern Mozambique to assess the implications of the war legacy for land access, coping strategies, and household welfare. The key findings include that war can enhance the degree of land abundance while also creating barriers to land access for some households, thus re-defining land abundance as a household-level concept. Land emerges as the least war vulnerable asset thus encouraging households to shift to land-based subsistence activities during the war. The experience of war increases the number of endogenously determined land variables, which should therefore be reflected in models of African land use. The thesis advances the literature of household coping strategies by focussing on little researched post-disaster and war-induced strategies. Households are found to respond to indirect war effects and thus to rely on subsistence and non-market activities and to make selective use of markets. Surprisingly, social exchange does not play a large role for insuring incomes. Finally, the thesis finds that the war legacy continues to depress household welfare for many years after the end of the conflict, which is attributed to a variety of poverty traps. Importantly, and in contrast to other studies of post-war Mozambique, education and cotton adoption are not found to enhance household welfare significantly but a larger area farmed does. The findings indicate that post-war reconstruction policy should re-capitalise household endowments and stimulate rural markets as part of a broadly based programme of rural development.