Title of Abstract

COVID-19, regime types, and government repression in Africa

Submitting Student(s)

Bautista Vivanco
Vincent Wasner

Session Title

XOral Awards Final Round

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Hye-Sung Kim, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

Abstract

In many African countries, states’ use of violence against civilians during the COVID-19 pandemic has been frequently reported in the news and social media. This study examines the extent to which governments in Africa use repression against their citizens in attempts to enforce restrictive measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and whether the extent of this repression varies by government type. Using count data analysis on panel data consisting of 829 administrative units of 49 African countries from January to May 2020, this study finds that governments’ use of repressive measures against civilians while enforcing movement restriction during the COVID-19 pandemic is conditional on regime type because the types of repressive measures used by the different types of governments vary. For example, repression against civilians without dissent increases in anocracies during the movement restrictions. When responding to riots, which may signal dissent, the repression is lowest in anocracies and greatest in autocracies during the implementation of the movement restrictions. The findings demonstrate that various types of governments, including democracies, use repressive measures against their citizens during the implementation of movement restrictions, implying that the pandemic may have influenced governments in Africa to be less concerned with protecting their citizens’ basic civil rights.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

COVID-19, regime types, and government repression in Africa

In many African countries, states’ use of violence against civilians during the COVID-19 pandemic has been frequently reported in the news and social media. This study examines the extent to which governments in Africa use repression against their citizens in attempts to enforce restrictive measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and whether the extent of this repression varies by government type. Using count data analysis on panel data consisting of 829 administrative units of 49 African countries from January to May 2020, this study finds that governments’ use of repressive measures against civilians while enforcing movement restriction during the COVID-19 pandemic is conditional on regime type because the types of repressive measures used by the different types of governments vary. For example, repression against civilians without dissent increases in anocracies during the movement restrictions. When responding to riots, which may signal dissent, the repression is lowest in anocracies and greatest in autocracies during the implementation of the movement restrictions. The findings demonstrate that various types of governments, including democracies, use repressive measures against their citizens during the implementation of movement restrictions, implying that the pandemic may have influenced governments in Africa to be less concerned with protecting their citizens’ basic civil rights.