"Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't": Mimicking behaviour of growth-oriented terrorist organizations
AbstractThis paper examines the interaction between a growth-oriented terrorist organization and an uninformed government based on a two-period signaling game. The terrorists, taking into account the government's counter-terrorism response to first period attacks, gain additional manpower from successful attacks and choose their strategy to maximize the available manpower at the end of period 2. The government tries to infer the terrorist organization's size from the terrorists' attack choice it observes in period 1 and adjusts its second period counter-terrorism spending according to the perceived threat of terrorism. Combining the signaling game and organizational growth approaches of previous contributions, this paper shows that, if a terrorist group follows a growth strategy, it has an incentive to appear weaker than it is by mimicking the behaviour of a smaller organization. Furthermore, depending on its beliefs about the extent of the terrorist threat it can be optimal for a government to spend more on second period counter-terrorism measures if it is not attacked than if it were attacked. The behaviour of contemporary terrorist groups suggests that the assumptions of a growth strategy and mimicking behaviour are justified.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 13998.
Date of creation: Sep 2012
Date of revision:
terrorism; counter-terrorism; game theory;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
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