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
Date Written: August 14, 2014
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: Suggested Citation