The Peace Baby Boom: Evidence from Colombia’s peace agreement with the FARC

Available from: 
October 2020
Paper author(s): 
María Elvira Guerra-Cújar
Mounu Prem
Paul Rodríguez-Lesmes
Juan F. Vargas
Conflict, Crime and Violence
Demographic Economics - Migration
Education - Health

Violent environments are known to affect household fertility choices, demand for health services and health outcomes of newborns. Using administrative data with a difference-in- differences strategy, we study how the end of the 50 years old Colombian conflict with FARC modified such decisions and outcomes in traditionally affected areas of the country. Results indicate that, after the start of permanent ceasefire in December 2014, the secular reduction of the total fertility rate was slowed down in municipalities traditionally affected by conflict. Total fertility rates increased in 2.6 percent in the formerly conflict-affected areas relative to the rest of the country. However, no impact was found for demand of health care services, neonatal and infant mortality rates, or birth outcomes such as the incidence of low weight at birth or the percentage of preterm births. Instead, our evidence shows that municipalities with landmine victims and that expelled internal refugees before the ceasefire have significantly higher total fertility rates in the four years following the ceasefire. We interpret these results as consistent with an increased optimism to raise children in a better environment, due to the sizable reduction in victimization in areas formerly violent areas.