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Federalism as an Effective Antidote to Terrorism

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  • Frey Bruno S.

    (University of Zurich and University of Warwick)

Abstract

Many governments as well as terrorist experts see the use of military and police forces as the only way to effectively counter terrorism. The most effective negative sanctions are considered to be military strikes, aggressive actions (including kidnapping and killing) against individuals known or suspected of being terrorists, or against persons supporting and harboring terrorists. Overt and covert military and paramilitary action is also thought advisable to pre-empt and prevent actions by terrorist groups, as well as against states suspected of hosting or tolerating terrorists. This paper argues that decentralization constitutes a powerful antidote as it strongly reduces the incentives for terrorists to attack and because the expected damage suffered is much smaller than in a centralized society. It moreover strengthens society, as economic, political and social decentralization (or polycentricity) is an essential element of a free and vigorous society. This in turn makes a society less vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Indeed, terrorism has no chance of success against a society that actively guards its fundamental liberal institutions, of which decentralized decision-making forms an essential part.

Suggested Citation

  • Frey Bruno S., 2010. "Federalism as an Effective Antidote to Terrorism," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 489-502, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:6:y:2010:i:3:n:9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hirshleifer,Jack, 2001. "The Dark Side of the Force," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521009171.
    2. Jack Hirshleifer & Juan Carlos Martinez Coll, 1992. "Selection, Mutation, and the Preservation of Diversity in Evolutionary Games," UCLA Economics Working Papers 648, UCLA Department of Economics.
    3. Robert Goodin & James Rice & Michael Bittman & Peter Saunders, 2005. "The Time-Pressure Illusion: Discretionary Time vs. Free Time," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 73(1), pages 43-70, August.
    4. Wallace E. Oates, 1991. "Studies In Fiscal Federalism," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 342.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:04:p:829-844_10 is not listed on IDEAS
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