COVID-19 and Conflict

Year: 2020 HiCN Working Paper No. 332

Abstract: What does the threat of and the policy response to COVID-19 mean for inter-group conflict worldwide? In this study, we examine time series trends for different types ofinter-group conflict and evaluate discernible changes taking place as global awareness of COVID-19 spread. At the country level, we examine changes in trends following policy responses, such as lockdowns, curfews, or ceasefires. We specifically examine violent conflict events (e.g., battles, remote violence and bombings, and violence against civilians) as well as civil demonstrations (e.g., protests and riots) using data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) project. Our main contribution comes from our examination of heterogeneity in trends.Although in many cases a downward trend in inter-group conflict seems to be associated with COVID-19 policy responses, there are critical exceptions to this general result.