COVID-19 has presented governing authorities with challenging decisions that have required them to consider the tradeoffs between movement restriction and economic activity. We propose that non-state armed groups may make different decisions than state governments in response to these challenges. Drawing upon the case of Hezbollah in Lebanon, we investigate whether movement levels differed between areas with Hezbollah private governance in comparison to other areas of Lebanon. Using Google COVID-19 mobility data and a difference in differences model, we show that following the first COVID-related death in Lebanon, movement in districts with private Hezbollah governance decreased significantly less than in other districts. We present a number of potential reasons for this disparity, arguing that the most probable explanation is the relatively high level of economic assistance that Hezbollah provided to people living in areas under Hezbollah's authority, which led to comparatively lesser rates of movement decline.
- Public health
- Rebel governance