Bruno Martorano on protests and social mobilization during the COVID-19 pandemic

WIDER Webinar 27 April 2021

Bruno Martorano on protests and social mobilization during the COVID-19 pandemic

Bruno Martorano will join the WIDER Webinar Series to present a recent study on policy responses to COVID-19, inequality and protests in US. Clionadh Raleigh will follow as discussant, sharing new findings on protests and political violence during COVID-19 in developing countries.

Do Pandemics Lead to Rebellion? Policy Responses to COVID-19 and protests in the USA

In his webinar presentation Bruno Martorano introduces the results of a recent study which analyses the role of inequality in shaping the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the incidence of protests across US counties in 2020.

The results of the study show that higher levels of stringent measures to contain the pandemic were instrumental in driving the incidence of protests. This was particularly the case in counties with high levels of economic inequality where grievances may have been initially stronger.

Further analysis suggests that the impact of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic is largely explained by the changes in economic conditions (rise in unemployment and changes in economic activities and spending) in counties with the highest levels of inequality. Unequal counties with lower trust in political institutions but higher social trust are also more likely to experience more protests as a response to more stringent policies.

Clionadh Raleigh will join as discussant. She will comment on Bruno Martorano's presentation and expand the discussion by sharing findings of the latest studies on protests and political violence during the COVID-19 pandemic in developing countries.

The event will be chaired by UNU-WIDER Senior Research Fellow Patricia Justino.

About the speakers

Dr. Bruno Martorano is an Assistant Professor at the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance/UNU-MERIT (Maastricht University). The ultimate goal of his research is to understand whether it is possible to overcome the trade-off between equity and efficiency, producing results that have practical or actionable implications for policy. His research interests include development economics, inequality, political participation, subjective wellbeing, fiscal policy and policy evaluation. His recent research has focused on understanding how psychological mechanisms affect decision-making, economic and social outcomes and, ultimately, the consequences and persistence of inequalities between socioeconomic groups.

Dr. Martorano holds a PhD in Development Economics from the University of Florence.  Prior to his current position he has worked at the ETH Zurich - NADEL Center for Development and Cooperation, Institute of Development Studies, UNICEF Office of Research and the University of Florence, and has held consultancies for the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, University of Antwerp, UNCTAD, UNU-WIDER, UNIDO, UNDP and the World Bank.

Prof. Clionadh Raleigh is the Executive Director of ACLED. She is also Senior Professor of Political Violence and Geography in the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex. Her primary research interests are the dynamics of conflict and violence, African political environments, and elite networks.