The continent of Africa is infamous for its many social conflicts. Research in the dynamics of these conflicts can give us a better understanding and can be useful in preventing them in the future. In this study we model social conflicts in Africa as earthquake occurrences using the spatial-temporal Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) model. The model parameters are estimated using a simulated annealing algorithm and the results are compared across four major geographical regions in Africa. Several model tests will be applied to study the performance of the model in capturing the dynamics of the social conflicts, as well as to detect similarities between earthquake and conflict catalogs. Finally, the estimated model is used to make a prediction for the amount of future large events and their locations. The results suggest that this model produces useful insights in identifying current, and predicting future conflict regions. In particular, the model predicted a cluster of large events in the Central Africa region which was not expected based on past events and we found that small conflicts can trigger larger conflicts easier in East Africa than in other regions.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Keywords— ETAS model, Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence, social conflicts, Africa, simulated annealing
Thesis Advisor Franses, Philip Hans
Persistent URL
Series Econometrie
Hengel, G.W.H. van den. (2018, July 5). An Epidemic Type Aftershock Sequence (ETAS) model on conflict data in Africa. Econometrie. Retrieved from