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Network Externalities and the Structure of Terror Networks


Author Info

  • Walter Enders

    (Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA)

  • Paan Jindapon

    (Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA,


The authors analyze the optimal network structure of two types of terrorist organizations. In the centralized network, the leadership selects the level of individual effort and the level of group connectivity so as to maximize the expected net welfare of the organization’s membership. Leaders in loosely connected networks will also seek to balance the trade-off between security and communications. However, with decentralized decision making, the individual nodes may not make optimal decisions from the group’s perspective. As a consequence, the decentralized decision-making process is suboptimal from the overall perspective of the network. In particular, the leadership in a centralized network is able to coordinate the activities of all network members and to take advantage of important network externalities.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Peace Science Society (International) in its journal Journal of Conflict Resolution.

Volume (Year): 54 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 262-280

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Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:54:y:2010:i:2:p:262-280

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Related research

Keywords: terrorist cells; network structure; network externalities; counterterrorism; security versus connectivity;


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Cited by:
  1. B. Hoyer, 2013. "Network Disruption and the Common Enemy Effect," Working Papers 12-06, Utrecht School of Economics.
  2. Michael McBride & David Hewitt, 2012. "The Enemy You Can't See: An Investigation of the Disruption of Dark Networks," Working Papers 121307, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.


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