Epidemiological modeling of the 2005 French riots: a spreading wave and the role of contagion
Laurent Bonnasse-Gahot, Henri Berestycki, Marie-Aude Depuiset, Mirta B. Gordon, Sebastian Roché, Nancy Rodríguez and Jean-Pierre Nadal
Scientific Reports, Jan. 8, 2018 open access (doi:10.1038/s41598-017-18093-4).
SI videos and Supplementary Information: here (Scientific Reports web site).
Abstract: As a large-scale instance of dramatic collective behavior, the 2005 French riots started in a poor suburb of Paris, then spread in all of France, lasting about three weeks. Remarkably, although there were no displacements of rioters, the riot activity did traveled. Daily national police data to which we had access have allowed us to take advantage of this natural experiment to explore the dynamics of riot propagation. Here we show that an epidemic-like model, with less than 10 free parameters and a single sociological variable characterizing neighborhood deprivation, accounts quantitatively for the full spatio-temporal dynamics of the riots. This is the first time that such data-driven modeling involving contagion both within and between cities (through geographic proximity or media) at the scale of a country is performed. Moreover, we give a precise mathematical characterization to the expression ``wave of riots'', and provide a visualization of the propagation around Paris, exhibiting the wave in a way not described before. The remarkable agreement between model and data demonstrates that geographic proximity played a major role in the riot propagation, even though information was readily available everywhere through media. Finally, we argue that our approach gives a general framework for the modeling of spontaneous collective uprisings.
Videos: wave propagation in Paris area. Color: riot intensity. Size of the circles: for each municipality, in proportion of the size of the deprived population.
Left: smoothed data. Right: calibrated epidemiological model. See the paper for details.
MIT Technology Review, Top Stories, Feb 3, 2017 – also in the Spanish edition.
France Inter : « Les émeutes contagieuses », interview pour la séquence La Une de la science de l’émission La tête au carré, 25 janvier 2018 ; Le Monde, Les émeutes de 2005 vues comme une épidémie de grippe, Jan. 22, 2018
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