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)
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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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