I recently attended the PSU GDELT Hackathon where I got a chance to contribute to the R package GDELTtools. The experience inspired me to clean up and share my own explorations of GDELT. My colleague Anna Schrimpf presented a research plan looking at the incentive structure that NGOs like Amnesty International face when choosing which issues to focus on. I found her research agenda fascinating and wondered if it could be applied to different types of conflict.
To check, I took the three UCDP datasets on annual casualties from (1) battles related to civil or interstate war, (2) one-sided government attacks on civilians, and (3) violence between non-state actors from 1989 and 2011 and plotted total fatalities against the count of Media-reported NGO actions using GDELT. For each country-year, I count the number of actions by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Oxfam, or the Red Cross that target an actor of that country in that year. The resulting plot below contains 2500 points spread across 170 countries.