The Dispossessed: A Labor-Market Analysis of Extreme Political Violence
AbstractHighly-educated individuals are over-represented among violent operatives of insurgent organizations in the Middle East. This suggests four inter-related questions: (1) Why do those who seem to have good prospects willingly endanger their own lives? (2) What incentives drive these highly educated individuals to terrorist organizations in particular? (3) Why do sub-state welfare organizations turn violent? (4) Why do these organizations send so many highly educated, thoroughly dedicated members to their deaths instead of employing them in some other way? We answer these questions using a multidisciplinary approach, organized in a supply-demand framework, to study the market for violent operatives. We show how the conditions of a failing state give extra salience to personal significance for highly educated but dispossessed individuals and raise their value as violent operatives, creating gains from trade between them and the leaders of extremist organizations.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 09-007.
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
extremists; political violence; insurgents; education;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J49 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Other
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Chang-Tai Hsieh & Edward Miguel & Daniel Ortega & Francisco Rodriguez, 2011. "The Price of Political Opposition: Evidence from Venezuela's Maisanta," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 196-214, April.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jackie Buttice).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.