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Looking Back on Anger: Explaining the Social Origins of Left-Wing and Nationalist-Separatist Terrorism in Western Europe, 1970-2007

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  • Sarah Brockhoff
  • Tim Krieger
  • Daniel Meierrieks

Abstract

A unique dataset is used to separately analyze the social origins of left-wing and nationalist-separatist terrorism in 17 Western European countries between 1970 and 2007. We argue that the differences in the historic roots, ultimate goals as well as their negotiability, levels of domestic and international support, and politico-military strategies of these types of ideologically or ethnically motivated terrorism make it plausible that they respond differently to specific social conditions and changes. We show that there are indeed factors that matter either to left-wing (e.g., the Cold War, leftist party strength) or nationalist-separatist terrorism (e.g., ethnic polarization, non-violent protest). However, both types of terrorism are robustly associated with larger populations and higher unemployment rates. This suggests that both may be ameliorated through social progress, even though ethnic terrorism seems to respond more strongly to socio-economic and political incentives (e.g., economic progress, political participation). Finally, we show that a ‘pooling’ of terrorism data—which disregards motivational bonds, but is nevertheless common in empirical analyses—may mask the role of otherwise relevant terrorism correlates in distinct types of terrorism.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3789.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3789

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Keywords: terrorism; ideology; political motivations; left-wing terrorism; ethnic terrorism; generalized estimation equation; Western Europe;

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References

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  1. Alberto Abadie, 2004. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," NBER Working Papers 10859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Atin Basuchoudhary & William Shughart, 2010. "On Ethnic Conflict And The Origins Of Transnational Terrorism," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 65-87.
  3. James A Piazza, 2011. "Poverty, Minority Economic Discrimination, and Domestic Terrorism," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 48(3), pages 339-353, May.
  4. Caruso, Raul & Schneider, Friedrich, 2011. "The socio-economic determinants of terrorism and political violence in Western Europe (1994–2007)," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(S1), pages S37-S49.
  5. Kis-Katos, Krisztina & Liebert, Helge & Schulze, Günther G., 2011. "On the origin of domestic and international terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(S1), pages S17-S36.
  6. Tim Krieger & Daniel Meierrieks, 2011. "What causes terrorism?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 147(1), pages 3-27, April.
  7. Bernholz, Peter, 2004. "Supreme values as the basis for terror," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 317-333, June.
  8. Freytag, Andreas & Krüger, Jens J. & Meierrieks, Daniel & Schneider, Friedrich, 2011. "The origins of terrorism: Cross-country estimates of socio-economic determinants of terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(S1), pages S5-S16.
  9. Tim Krieger & Daniel Meierrieks, 2010. "Terrorism in the Worlds of Welfare Capitalism," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 54(6), pages 902-939, December.
  10. Olson, Mancur, 1963. "Rapid Growth as a Destabilizing Force," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(04), pages 529-552, December.
  11. S. Blomberg & Khusrav Gaibulloev & Todd Sandler, 2011. "Terrorist group survival: ideology, tactics, and base of operations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 441-463, December.
  12. Martin Gassebner & Simon Luechinger, 2011. "Lock, stock, and barrel: a comprehensive assessment of the determinants of terror," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 235-261, December.
  13. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
  14. William Shughart, 2006. "An analytical history of terrorism, 1945–2000," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 7-39, July.
  15. Guimarães, Paulo, 2008. "The fixed effects negative binomial model revisited," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 63-66, April.
  16. Jos� G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
  17. repec:pdn:wpaper:22 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Walter Enders & Todd Sandler & Khusrav Gaibulloev, 2011. "Domestic Versus Transnational Terrorism: Data, Decomposition, and Dynamics," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 48(3), pages 319-337, May.
  19. Seung-Whan Choi, 2010. "Fighting Terrorism through the Rule of Law?," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 54(6), pages 940-966, December.
  20. Carlos Pestana Barros, 2003. "An intervention analysis of terrorism: The spanish eta case," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(6), pages 401-412.
  21. Michael T. Koch & Skyler Cranmer, 2007. "Testing the “Dick Cheney†Hypothesis: Do Governments of the Left Attract More Terrorism than Governments of the Right?," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 24(4), pages 311-326, September.
  22. Tim Krieger & Daniel Meierrieks, 2009. "Terrorism in the Worlds of Welfare Capitalism," Working Papers CIE 22, University of Paderborn, CIE Center for International Economics.
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