Violence and cell phone communication patterns: Evidence from Côte d’Ivoire


Monday, April 10, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:30pm


Nye A, Taubman 520, Taubman Building, 79 JFK St, Cambridge MA 02138

"When and where will violent conflict break out?" The answer to this question is critically important to people who might fall victim to violence, to policy makers who are charged with preventing and resolving deadly disputes, and to academics who strive to understand human behavior. The social science literature on reducing political violence mostly concerns answering the question, "Which countries are likely to experience violence?" Recent research has refined geographic predictions to identify local level danger zones. However, little progress has been made toward the temporally fine-grained question, "On which specific data will violence occur in a specific place?"

Please join us for a lunchtime seminar led by Dr. Sera Linardi on the work she and her colleagues hope to lead to breakthroughs in our current limited understanding of local level violence, to better address its effects on intergroup relations and potential escalations into national-level problems.

Dr. Linardi will be discussing the results of combining violence data from UN peace operations' weekly logs with daily antenna transmission data from Orange Telecom, which have shown a pattern of increased call volume, more within-network calls, and shorter calls in the days preceding violent events.

An R library, developed by Dr. Linardi and student researcher Lujing Li, which uses various machine learning techniques for prediction and plotting the output on GIS maps, will also be discussed during this seminar.

ORGANIZER: Carr Center for Human Rights Policy & Harvard Humanitarian Initiative
EVENT CONTACT:  Dr. Sera Linardi