Human Capital and the Productivity of Suicide Bombers
AbstractThis paper studies the relation between the human capital of suicide bombers and the outcomes of their suicide attacks. We argue that human capital is an important factor in the production of terrorism and that if terrorists behave rationally, we should observe that more able suicide bombers are assigned to more important targets. To validate the theoretical predictions and estimate the returns to human capital in suicide bombing, we use a unique dataset detailing the biographies of Palestinian suicide bombers, the targets they attack, and the number of people that they kill and injure. Our empirical analysis suggests that older and more educated suicide bombers are being assigned by their terror organization to more important targets. We find that more educated and older suicide bombers are less likely to fail in their mission and are more likely to cause increased casualties when they attack.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.
Volume (Year): 21 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Eli Berman & David Laitin, 2005. "Hard Targets: Theory and Evidence on Suicide Attacks," NBER Working Papers 11740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Eli Berman, 2003. "Hamas, Taliban and the Jewish Underground: An Economist's View of Radical Religious Militias," NBER Working Papers 10004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Helliwell, 2007.
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Social Indicators Research,
Springer, vol. 81(3), pages 455-496, May.
- John F. Helliwell, 2004. "Well-Being and Social Capital: Does Suicide Pose a Puzzle?," NBER Working Papers 10896, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Claude Berrebi & Darius Lakdawalla, 2007. "How Does Terrorism Risk Vary Across Space And Time? An Analysis Based On The Israeli Experience," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 113-131.
- Edward L. Glaeser, 2005.
"The Political Economy of Hatred,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 45-86, January.
- Gary S. Becker, 1974.
"Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach,"
in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi, 2007. "Attack Assignments in Terror Organizations and The Productivity of Suicide Bombers," NBER Working Papers 12910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Berrebi Claude, 2007.
"Evidence about the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism among Palestinians,"
Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy,
De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-38, December.
- Claude Berrebi, 2003. "Evidence About the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism Among Palestinians," Working Papers 856, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2003. "Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
- Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- The rational terrorist
by Chris Blattman in Chris Blattman on 2008-01-16 17:23:00
- Who becomes a suicide bomber?
by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-09-11 08:08:00
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