Political instability and internal conflict impact the lives of thousands every single day. Understanding when and why these conflicts occur has been the focus of governments, nongovernmental organizations, and scholars for years. Predicting internal conflict was originally qualitative in nature, based on the advice and predictions of regional and country experts. More recently, as computational technology has become more widely used and effective, the efforts at predicting internal conflict have become more quantitative. This paper builds off the work of prior scholars to explore the impact of technology on internal instability. A logit model is used to test the effect of particular independent variables – specifically cell phone and internet users – on internal instability during the Arab Spring. The results show that political factors and technology are significant in explaining internal instability during the Arab Spring, while economic factors had little statistical significance or impact on the predictive probability of the model. Access to, and the use of technology will only continue to grow. As it does, it is vital that governments, NGOs, and scholars acknowledge its growing role in driving social and political movements and its impact on internal instability.
Economics 411: Senior Thesis Seminar