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The Curvilinear Effects of Economic Development on Domestic Terrorism


  • Boehmer Charles

    () (Department of Political Science, University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W. University Drive, El Paso, TX 79968, USA)

  • Daube Mark

    (University of Texas School of Law, 727 E Dean Keeton St, Austin, TX 78724, USA)


This paper investigates the relationship between economic development and domestic terrorism. We argue states at intermediate levels of development go through socioeconomic changes that result when traditional economies are replaced by modern economic relations, which may lead to grievances and social mobilizations conducive to terrorism. The effects of economic development should have a curvilinear effect on domestic terrorism. We test our theory using the GTD dataset and find support for our theory. We show that states at intermediate levels of economic development are more prone to domestic terror attacks than the poorest and richest states. Terror events would appear more likely where states fail to provide, or reduce, an economic safety net to mitigate the transformative effects of economic development. Moreover, the results show that states that are highly democratic, and long-enduring, are less prone to domestic terrorism than less democratic states.

Suggested Citation

  • Boehmer Charles & Daube Mark, 2013. "The Curvilinear Effects of Economic Development on Domestic Terrorism," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(3), pages 359-368, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:pepspp:v:19:y:2013:i:3:p:359-368:n:11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Abadie, 2006. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 50-56, May.
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    8. Jennifer Kavanagh, 2011. "Selection, Availability, and Opportunity: The Conditional Effect of Poverty on Terrorist Group Participation," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(1), pages 106-132, February.
    9. James A Piazza, 2011. "Poverty, Minority Economic Discrimination, and Domestic Terrorism," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 48(3), pages 339-353, May.
    10. Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2003. "Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
    11. 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.
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