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Al Qaeda and Jihadist Terrorism in the Light of Contest Theory, Empirical Evidence for the period 2004-2008

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  • Caruso, Raul
  • Schneider, Friedrich

Abstract

This paper finds an empirical evidence that al Qaeda behaves as a contest organizer rewarding a prize to candidate extremist 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). In particular, in the presence of costless information each candidate group can observe the results of attacks of other groups. Therefore, each group tries to make attacks at least equally destructive as the foregoing attacks. The testable implication is that: the number of victims of terrorist attacks is associated with the number of victims of past attacks. Resulting evidence confirms the hypothesis. However, results show that al Qaeda-style jihadist 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 15856.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15856

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Keywords: Terrorism; al Qaeda; Contest Theory; Self-Starters; Tournament; Information.;

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References

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  1. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Xianwen Shi, 2007. "Contests for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 338-363.
  2. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi, 2007. "Human Capital and the Productivity of Suicide Bombers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 223-238, Summer.
  3. Andreas Freytag & Jens J. Krüger & Daniel Meierrieks & Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "The Origins of Terrorism - Cross-Country Estimates on Socio-Economic Determinants of Terrorism," Working Papers CIE 19, University of Paderborn, CIE Center for International Economics.
  4. Berrebi Claude, 2007. "Evidence about the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism among Palestinians," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-38, December.
  5. Caruso, Raul & Locatelli, Andrea, 2007. "Deadly Contests An economic note on al Qaeda’s reward system," MPRA Paper 5448, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Morgan, John & Vardy, Felix, 2007. "The value of commitment in contests and tournaments when observation is costly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 326-338, August.
  7. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  8. Sandler, Todd & Enders, Walter, 2004. "An economic perspective on transnational terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-316, June.
  9. Nti, Kofi O, 1999. " Rent-Seeking with Asymmetric Valuations," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 98(3-4), pages 415-30, March.
  10. Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-98, December.
  11. Nti, Kofi O., 2004. "Maximum efforts in contests with asymmetric valuations," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 1059-1066, November.
  12. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-15, September.
  13. Alberto Abadie, 2004. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," NBER Working Papers 10859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Raul Caruso & Andrea Locatelli, 2005. "Pushing the Prize Up, A Few Notes on Al-Qaeda's Reward Structure and the choice of Casualties," Public Economics, EconWPA 0507008, EconWPA.
  15. Amegashie, J. Atsu & Cadsby, C. Bram & Song, Yang, 2007. "Competitive burnout: Theory and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 213-239, May.
  16. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela, 2001. "The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 542-558, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Friedrich Schneider & Raul Caruso, 2011. "The (Hidden) Financial Flows of Terrorist and Transnational Crime Organizations: A Literature Review and Some Preliminary Empirical Results," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 52, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Caruso, Raul & Schneider, Friedrich, 2011. "The socio-economic determinants of terrorism and political violence in Western Europe (1994–2007)," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(S1), pages S37-S49.

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