Scholarship in progress
- “Havoc and disease: Spatial analysis of armed violence on HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa”
Abstract: To what extent does violence affect the transmission of HIV? This paper expands on the relationship between violent conflict and HIV in 32 Sub-Saharan African countries from 2000-2019. Existing literature on the link follows an orthodox-like paradigm that insists conflict exacerbates the spread of HIV through the direct and indirect effects on human mobility. However, country-level spatial analysis of 32 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa from 2000-2019 suggests that violence may hinder HIV transmission. I offer a gendered argument of constrained migrant migration for why conflict may have a negative effect on the HIV burden. Using an updated measure for the HIV burden, spatial regression analyses find that the frequency of violent events has a small, albeit statistically significant negative effect on the HIV burden in SSA.
2. “Infectious Violence: Disease and Disorder in the DRC”
Abstract: This paper considers how deadly infectious diseases can affect variation in the frequency of violent conflict events in sub-Saharan Africa. While increased pathogen severity has been empirically linked to increased levels of violence, current research focuses on the impact of various neglected tropical diseases at the country level. I build on previous research by investigating infectious diseases on levels of violence at the sub-national level. Specifically, I examine the impact of the Zaire Ebola Virus in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I argue that the lethal ecology of Ebola can help foment an “us versus them” mentality. The societal wedge created by the virus may increase feelings of mistrust between affected and non-affected communities and health care providers that can result in increased tensions and subsequent violence. Empirical analysis using spatial and sub-national data disaggregated by health zone finds robust support of a positive association between Ebola and conflict in the Nord and Sud Kivu, and Ituri provinces in the DRC.
“In sickness or in health: The impact of disease burdens on the likelihood of violent conflict”
Abstract: This paper expands on the relationship between disease burdens and the onset of violent conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa from 1990-2012. Most studies have focused on conflict as a cause of HIV transmission, while some suggest that HIV infection rates, by substantially reducing life- expectancy, increase the onset of violence by lowering the opportunity cost of rebelling for HIV-positive individuals. This paper argues that to the degree that life expectancy is important to opportunity costs, it is more likely driven by other factors. First, I argue preventable diseases that are less connected to individual decision-making, and the presence of poor health infrastructure more generally, are more likely to both introduce grievances and lower the opportunity costs of rebellion. Second, I argue the HIV-onset link requires the questionable assumptions that HIV positive individuals know their status in sufficient numbers, are fit to fight after learning of their status, and “have nothing to live for.” By introducing more direct and disaggregated measures from the Global Burden of Disease project, including years of life lost and disability-adjusted life years, I find that non-HIV health challenges are strongly associated with onset of violent conflict.