Crowdseeding in Eastern Congo: Using Cell Phones to Collect Conflict Events Data in Real Time

Paper published in Journal of Conflict Resolution: 2016, 60(4), 748-781

35 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2020

See all articles by Peter Van der Windt

Peter Van der Windt

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi

Macartan Humphreys

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 14, 2014

Abstract

Poor quality data about conflict events can hinder humanitarian responses and bias academic research. There is increasing recognition of the role that new information technologies can play in producing more reliable data faster. We piloted a novel data-gathering system in the Democratic Republic of Congo in which villagers in a set of randomly selected communities report on events in real time via SMS. We first describe the data and assess its reliability. We then examine the usefulness of such “crowdseeded” data in two ways. First, we implement a downstream experiment on aid and conflict and find evidence that aid can lead to fewer conflict events. Second, we examine conflict diffusion in Eastern Congo and find evidence that key dynamics operate at very micro levels. Both applications highlight the benefit of collecting conflict data via cell phones in real time.

Keywords: Conflict, Conflict Management, Congo, Foreign Aid, Humanitarian Intervention, Mobile Phones

JEL Classification: D74

Suggested Citation

Van der Windt, Peter and Humphreys, Macartan, Crowdseeding in Eastern Congo: Using Cell Phones to Collect Conflict Events Data in Real Time (August 14, 2014). Paper published in Journal of Conflict Resolution: 2016, 60(4), 748-781, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3520480 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3520480

Peter Van der Windt (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Macartan Humphreys

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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