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"Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't": Mimicking behaviour of growth-oriented terrorist organizations

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  • Hendel, Ulrich
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    Abstract

    This 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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    File URL: http://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13998/1/Hendel_2012_Mimicking_behaviour_of_growth-oriented_terrorist_organizations.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 13998.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:13998

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    Keywords: terrorism; counter-terrorism; game theory;

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    1. Bruno S. Frey & Dominik Rohner, 2006. "Blood and Ink! The Common-Interest-GameBetween Terrorists and the Media," IEW - Working Papers 285, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Eric D. Gould & Esteban F. Klor, 2010. "Does Terrorism Work?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1459-1510, November.
    3. Lapan, Harvey E. & Sandler, Todd, 1993. "Terrorism and signalling," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 383-397, August.
    4. Blomberg, S. Brock & Hess, Gregory D. & Orphanides, Athanasios, 2004. "The macroeconomic consequences of terrorism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1007-1032, July.
    5. Gil Epstein & Ira Gang, 2007. "Who Is The Enemy?," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(6), pages 469-484.
    6. Bruno S. Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Calculating Tragedy: Assessing the Costs of Terrorism," CESifo Working Paper Series 1341, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Jonathan S. Feinstein & Edward H. Kaplan, 2010. "Analysis of a Strategic Terror Organization," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 54(2), pages 281-302, April.
    8. R. Coats & Gökhan Karahan & Robert Tollison, 2006. "Terrorism and pork-barrel spending," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 275-287, July.
    9. Kai A. Konrad, 2004. "The Investment Problem in Terrorism," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 71(283), pages 449-459, 08.
    10. Mirza, Daniel & Verdier, Thierry, 2008. "International trade, security and transnational terrorism: Theory and a survey of empirics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 179-194, June.
    11. Gary S. Becker & Yona Rubinstein, 2011. "Fear and the Response to Terrorism: An Economic Analysis," CEP Discussion Papers dp1079, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    12. Bernholz, Peter, 2004. "Supreme values as the basis for terror," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 317-333, June.
    13. Golany, Boaz & Kaplan, Edward H. & Marmur, Abraham & Rothblum, Uriel G., 2009. "Nature plays with dice - terrorists do not: Allocating resources to counter strategic versus probabilistic risks," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 192(1), pages 198-208, January.
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