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Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism

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  • Benmelech, Efraim
  • Berrebi, Claude
  • Klor, Esteban F.

Abstract

We analyze the link between economic conditions and the quality of suicide terrorism. While the existing empirical literature shows that poverty and economic conditions are not correlated with the quantity of terror, theory predicts that poverty and poor economic conditions may affect the quality of terror. Poor economic conditions may lead more able, better-educated individuals to participate in terror attacks, allowing terror organizations to send better-qualified terrorists to more complex, higher-impact, terror missions. Using the universe of Palestinian suicide terrorists against Israeli targets between the years 2000 and 2006 we provide evidence on the correlation between economic conditions, the characteristics of suicide terrorists and the targets they attack. High levels of unemployment enable terror organizations to recruit more educated, mature and experienced suicide terrorists who in turn attack more important Israeli targets.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7995.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7995

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Keywords: Economic Conditions; Quantity and Quality of Terrorism; Suicide Terrorists;

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References

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  1. M. Daniele Paserman & Esteban F. Klor & Sami H. Miaari & David A. Jaeger, 2011. "The struggle for Palestinian hearts and minds: Violence and public opinion in the Second Intifada," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-047, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2004. "On Terrorism and Electoral Outcomes: Theory and Evidence from the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," Working Papers 4, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Jaeger, David A & Paserman, Marco Daniele, 2006. "Israel, the Palestinian Factions and the Cycle of Violence," CEPR Discussion Papers 5498, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. David A. Jaeger & M. Daniele Paserman, 2008. "The Cycle of Violence? An Empirical Analysis of Fatalities in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1591-1604, September.
  5. Eric D. Gould & Esteban F. Klor, 2009. "Does Terrorism Work?," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 12, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2008. "Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism?: Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate," Working Papers 477-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  7. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2010. "The Economic Cost of Harboring Terrorism," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 54(2), pages 331-353, April.
  8. 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..
  9. 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.
  10. de Mesquita, Ethan Bueno, 2008. "Terrorist Factions," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 399-418, December.
  11. Azam, Jean-Paul, 2003. "Suicide-Bombing as Inter-Generational Investment," IDEI Working Papers 234, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  12. Alberto Abadie, 2006. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 50-56, May.
  13. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi, 2007. "Human Capital and the Productivity of Suicide Bombers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 223-238, Summer.
  14. Blomberg, S. Brock & Hess, Gregory D. & Weerapana, Akila, 2004. "Economic conditions and terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 463-478, June.
  15. Konstantinos Drakos & Andreas Gofas, 2006. "In Search Of The Average Transnational Terrorist Attack Venue," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 73-93.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sandeep Baliga & Tomas Sjostrom, 2009. "The Strategy of Manipulating Conflict," Departmental Working Papers 200906, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  2. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2009. "The Economic Cost of Harboring Terrorism," NBER Working Papers 15465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Beath, Andrew & Christia, Fotini & Enikolopov, Ruben, 2012. "Winning hearts and minds through development ? evidence from a field experiment in Afghanistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6129, The World Bank.
  4. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2012. "Do Poor Economic Conditions Affect Terrorism?," EUSECON Policy Briefing 15, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Radha Iyengar & Jonathan Monten & Matthew Hanson, 2011. "Building Peace: The Impact of Aid on the Labor Market for Insurgents," NBER Working Papers 17297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gould, Eric D. & Klor, Esteban F., 2009. "Does Terrorism Work?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Javier Gardeazabal, 2011. "Linguistic polarization and conflict in the Basque Country," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 405-425, December.
  8. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2011. "Does Harboring Terrorists Have Economic Costs?," EUSECON Policy Briefing 12, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  9. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi & Esteban Klor, 2010. "Counter-Suicide-Terrorism: Evidence from House Demolitions," NBER Working Papers 16493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Hull, Peter & Imai, Masami, 2013. "Economic shocks and civil conflict: Evidence from foreign interest rate movements," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 77-89.

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