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Al Qaeda as a Tournament: Empirical Evidence

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  • Caruso, Raul

Abstract

This short paper aims to find an empirical evidence that al Qaeda behaves as a contest organizer rewarding an indivisible prize – namely, official membership and economic rewards – to candidate extremists groups. Would-be terrorists must then compete with each other to prove their commitment and ability. Hence to maximize their own probability of winning the prize, each group (maximizes its effort) tries to make attacks at least equally destructive as the foregoing attacks. The testable implication is that: the number of victims must depend upon the number of victims of past attacks. Resulting evidence confirms the hypothesis. At the same time, results show that al Qaeda-style terrorist activity depends also upon grievance for poverty and socio-economic conditions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 11693.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11693

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Keywords: Terrorism; al Qaeda; Contest Theory; Tournament; Information;

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  1. Morgan, John & Vardy, Felix, 2007. "The value of commitment in contests and tournaments when observation is costly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 326-338, August.
  2. Caruso, Raul & Locatelli, Andrea, 2007. "Deadly Contests An economic note on al Qaeda’s reward system," MPRA Paper 5448, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Andreas Freytag & Jens J. Krüger & Daniel Meierrieks & Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "The Origins of Terrorism - Cross-Country Estimates on Socio-Economic Determinants of Terrorism," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-009, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  4. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  5. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Xianwen Shi, 2007. "Contests for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 338-363.
  6. Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-98, December.
  7. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 1999. "The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-75, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  8. Berrebi Claude, 2007. "Evidence about the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism among Palestinians," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-38, December.
  9. Alberto Abadie, 2006. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 50-56, May.
  10. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 1668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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