Associate Professor of Government Erica De Bruin's article, "Did Covid-19 Change Armed Group Governance? Evidence from a Survey of Local Security Authorities in Colombia," was published in the Bulletin of Latin American Research.
As the Covid-19 pandemic spread, scholars and media outlets raised concerns that armed groups would take advantage of the disruption to expand their control of territory and civilian life. However, surveying local officials responsible for monitoring and combating armed groups in Colombia, De Bruin and her co-author, Michael Weintraub (Universidad de los Andes), find little evidence that this was the case. The survey suggests that the pandemic did not drastically alter patterns of governance by either political or criminal armed groups. The results of the survey also challenge the prevailing assumption that territorial control is a prerequisite for armed groups to govern.
De Bruin and Weintraub show that rebel groups, paramilitaries, and criminal organizations engage in a wide variety of governance activities, including resolving disputes and establishing rules to regulate behavior, even in areas contested by multiple armed groups. This research was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Award #2038632).