COVID-19, Governance, and Conflict: Emerging Impacts and Future Evidence Needs

1st March 2020
Author: Heather Marquette, Siân Herbert

This paper reviews emerging evidence of the impact of COVID-19 on governance and conflict, using a “governance and conflict first” approach in contrast to other research and synthesis on COVID-19 in the social sciences that tends to be structured through a public health lens. It largely focuses on evidence on low- and middle-income countries but also includes a number of examples from high-income countries, reflecting the global nature of the crisis. It is organised around four cross-cutting themes that have enabled the identification of emerging bodies of evidence and/or analysis: Power and legitimacy; Effectiveness, capacity, and corruption; Violence, unrest, and conflict; and Resilience, vulnerability, and risk. The paper concludes with three over-arching insights that have emerged from the research: (1) the importance of leadership; (2) resilience and what “fixing the cracks” really means; and (3) why better ways are needed to add up all the “noise” when it comes to COVID-19 and evidence.

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Suggested Citation

Herbert, S. & Marquette, H. (2021). COVID-19, governance, and conflict: emerging impacts and future evidence needs. K4D Emerging Issues Report 34. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies. DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2021.029


1st March 2020


Continent: Global

Country: Hungary, Iraq, Senegal, United Kingdom