Journal Article

Poverty and Witch Killing

Edward Miguel

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 72, issue 4, pages 1153-1172
Published in print October 2005 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online October 2005 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI:
Poverty and Witch Killing

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  • Welfare and Poverty
  • Economic Sociology


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This study uses rainfall variation to estimate the impact of income shocks on murder in rural Tanzania. Extreme rainfall (drought or flood) leads to a large increase in the murder of “witches”—typically elderly women killed by relatives—but not other murders. The findings provide novel evidence on the role of income shocks in causing violent crime, and religious violence in particular.

Keywords: I32; Z13

Journal Article.  10526 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Welfare and Poverty ; Economic Sociology

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