Title of Abstract

Mobile Technology and State Repression during the COVID-19 Movement Restriction: The Case of Nigeria

Submitting Student(s)

Hannah Switzer

Session Title

Community, Society, and Government

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

Government repression against civilians while enforcing restrictive policies related to COVID-19 has been widely and frequently reported in Africa. This study focuses on Nigeria and examines (1) the effect of enforcing lockdown policies on government repression against citizens and (2) whether active social media participation by citizens constrains government repression. Utilizing within-country variation in lockdown policies and 4G mobile technology penetration -- a measure of rapid and widespread information-sharing via social media -- this study conducts a triple difference (DDD) estimation. It finds that the Nigerian government used more repression in suppressing rioters in areas with high-levels of mobile technology penetration in states where lockdowns were implemented. Spillover effects were also found: several state repression measures have increased in high-level mobile technology penetration areas beyond the states in lockdown. In Nigeria, mobile technology has neither facilitated nor constrained government repression of political participation.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Mobile Technology and State Repression during the COVID-19 Movement Restriction: The Case of Nigeria

Government repression against civilians while enforcing restrictive policies related to COVID-19 has been widely and frequently reported in Africa. This study focuses on Nigeria and examines (1) the effect of enforcing lockdown policies on government repression against citizens and (2) whether active social media participation by citizens constrains government repression. Utilizing within-country variation in lockdown policies and 4G mobile technology penetration -- a measure of rapid and widespread information-sharing via social media -- this study conducts a triple difference (DDD) estimation. It finds that the Nigerian government used more repression in suppressing rioters in areas with high-levels of mobile technology penetration in states where lockdowns were implemented. Spillover effects were also found: several state repression measures have increased in high-level mobile technology penetration areas beyond the states in lockdown. In Nigeria, mobile technology has neither facilitated nor constrained government repression of political participation.