Research Areas

Information- and communication technology and political mobilization

The digital revolution is changing the way people communicate and interact with each other. Our research examines how these technologies affect political mobilization, with a particular focus on non-democratic countries and non-conventional forms of political action, such as protest and violent conflict. 

Related publications

  • Weidmann, Nils B., Suso Benitez-Baleato, Philipp Hunziker, Eduard Glatz and Xenofontas Dimitropoulos. 2016. “Digital Discrimination: Political Bias in Internet Service Provision across Ethnic Groups.” Science 353(6304):1151–1156. [Online Access]

  • Rød, Espen Geelmuyden and Nils B. Weidmann. 2013. “Protesting Dictatorship: The Mass Mobilization in Autocracies Database.” Working paper, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Konstanz.

  • Weidmann, Nils B. 2015. “Communication Networks and the Transnational Spread of Ethnic Conflict.” Journal of Peace Research 52(3):285–296. [Online Access]

  • Rød, Espen Geelmuyden and Nils B. Weidmann. 2015. “Empowering Activists or Autocrats? The Internet in Authoritarian Regimes.” Journal of Peace Research 52(3):338–351. [Online Access]

  • Shapiro, Jacob N. and Nils B. Weidmann. 2015. “Is the Phone Mightier than the Sword? Cell Phones and Insurgent Violence in Iraq.” International Organization 69(2):247–274. [Online Access]

Inequality and political violence

Socio-economic inequality is a growing issue in today’s world. In our research, we study the consequences of inequality when it comes to violent forms of political opposition, as for example civil war. For this research, we rely on novel forms of measurement and data generation. 

Related publications

  • Cederman, Lars-Erik, Nils B. Weidmann and Kristian Skrede Gleditsch. 2011. “Horizontal Inequalities and Ethno-nationalist Civil War: A Global Comparison.” American Political Science Review 105(3):478–495. [Online Access]

  • Cederman, Lars-Erik, Nils B. Weidmann and Nils-Christian Bormann. 2015. “Triangulating Horizontal Inequality: Toward Improved Conflict Analysis.” Journal of Peace Research 52(6):806–821. [Online Access]

  • Kuhn, Patrick and Nils B. Weidmann. 2015. “Unequal We Fight: Between- and Within-Group Inequality and Ethnic Civil War.” Political Science Research and Methods 3(3):543–568. [Online Access]

Religion and contentious politics

Religion is of great importance for our understanding of today’s politics. Our research investigates the role of religious organizations in contentious politics, in order to analyze the conditions under which they choose to act for political reasons.

Related publications

  • Basedau, Matthias, Brite Pfeiffer and Johannes Vüllers. 2016. "Bad Religion? Religion, Collective Action, and the Onset of Armed Conflict in Developing Countries." Journal of Conflict Resolution 60(2) [Online Access]

  • De Juan, Alexander, Jan H. Pierskalla and Johannes Vüllers. 2015. “The Pacifying Effects of Local Religious Institutions: An Analysis of Communal Violence in Indonesia.“ Political Research Quarterly 68(2) [Online Access]

Event data collection and methodology

Data about political events such as violence or protest are increasingly being used in the discipline. Due to their high resolution, event data allows for new and improved research on the causes and consequences of unrest. At the same time, however, it is necessary to better understand potential issues and biases associated with these data. Our research aims to identify these issues, and to suggest ways to improve event data collection and –analysis.

Related publications

  • Weidmann, Nils B. 2016. “A Closer Look at Reporting Bias in Conflict Event Data.” American Journal of Political Science 60(1):206–218. [Online Access]

  • Weidmann, Nils B. and Espen Geelmuyden Rød. 2015. “Making Uncertainty Explicit: Separating Reports and Events in the Coding of Violence and Contention.” Journal of Peace Research 52(1):125–128. [Online Access]

  • Weidmann, Nils B. 2015. “On the Accuracy of Media-based Conflict Event Data.” Journal of Conflict Resolution 59(6):1129–1149. [Online Access]

New techniques for social science data collection

Empirical research in non-democratic and violent contexts is often hampered by data availability. In our group, we develop new ways to “remote-sense” human behavior using new technology and data collected via the Internet. 

Related publications

  • Weidmann, Nils B. and Sebastian Schutte. 2017. “Using Night Light Emissions for the Prediction of Local Wealth.” Journal of Peace Research, forthcoming.

  • Nisser, Annerose and Nils B Weidmann. 2016. “Measuring Ethnic Preferences in Bosnia and Herzegovina with Mobile Advertising.” PloS one 11(12):e0167779. [Online Access]

  • Benitez-Baleato, Suso, Nils B. Weidmann, Petros Gigis, Xenofontas Dimitropoulos, Eduard Glatz Glatz and Brian Trammell. 2015. “Transparent Estimation of Internet Penetration using Network Observations.” In Proceedings of the Passive and Active Measurement Conference. pp. 220–231. [Online Access]