Crowdseeding in Eastern Congo

Using Cell Phones to Collect Conflict Events Data in Real Time

Peter van der Windt, Macartan Humphreys

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    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 short message service. 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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)748-781
    Number of pages34
    JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
    Volume60
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

    Fingerprint

    cell phone
    event
    SMS
    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    data quality
    micro level
    evidence
    new technology
    information technology
    time
    Cell phone
    experiment
    trend
    community

    Keywords

    • conflict
    • conflict management
    • foreign aid
    • humanitarian intervention

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Crowdseeding in Eastern Congo : Using Cell Phones to Collect Conflict Events Data in Real Time. / van der Windt, Peter; Humphreys, Macartan.

    In: Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 60, No. 4, 01.01.2014, p. 748-781.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    van der Windt, Peter ; Humphreys, Macartan. / Crowdseeding in Eastern Congo : Using Cell Phones to Collect Conflict Events Data in Real Time. In: Journal of Conflict Resolution. 2014 ; Vol. 60, No. 4. pp. 748-781.
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