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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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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. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner & Shi, Xianwen, 2005. "Contests for Status," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 139, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  2. 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.
  3. Sherwin Rosen, 1985. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," NBER Working Papers 1668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. Abadie, Alberto, 2004. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," Working Paper Series rwp04-043, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Raul Caruso & Andrea Locatelli., 2008. "Deadly contests: An economic note on al Qaeda's reward system," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, Economists for Peace and Security (UK), vol. 3(2), pages 62-67, July.
  7. Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-98, December.
  8. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela, 2001. "The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 542-558, June.
  9. 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..
  10. 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.
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