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Marital dynamics in the wake of ethnic cleansing: evidence from Bosnia and Rwanda

Sarah E. Staveteig, University of California, Berkeley

Wartime casualties, both civilian and military, have long been overwhelmingly male. Ethnic cleansing in Bosnia during the 1990s was no exception. In Rwanda, however, the sex ratio of wartime deaths was nearly even. This paper combines national-level data on postwar sex ratios, widowhood, and orphanhood in Bosnia and Rwanda with evidence from 141 interviews I recently conducted with key informants and individual women there. I compare how differences in sex-selective killing, pre-existing marital patterns, and cultural norms surrounding widowhood in each country shaped postwar marital dynamics.

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Presented in Session 85: Demography of armed conflict