Religion, terrorism and public goods: Testing the club model
Can rational models, once theological explanations are discredited, explain why certain radical religious rebels are so successful in perpetrating suicide attacks? The fundamental barrier to success turns out not to be recruiting suicide attackers; there is a rational basis for volunteering. Rather, the barrier is the danger of other operatives defecting. A club model, portraying voluntary religious organizations as efficient providers of local public goods, explains how they weed out potential defectors by requiring sacrifices as signals of commitment. They are thereby able to succeed in risky terrorist attacks. The model has testable implications for tactic choice and damage achieved by clubs and other rebel organizations. Data spanning a half-century on both terrorists and civil war insurgents, much from Middle East sources and Israel/Palestine, reveal that: a) missions organized by radical religious clubs that provide benign local public goods are both more lethal and are more likely to be suicide attacks than missions organized by other terrorist groups with similar aims and theologies; and b) suicide attacks are chosen when targets are "hard," i.e., difficult to destroy. Our results suggest benign tactics to counter radical religious terrorism and insurgency.
If 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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Eli Berman, 2000.
"Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953.
- Eli Berman, 1998. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," NBER Working Papers 6715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Daniel L. Chen, 2010. "Club Goods and Group Identity: Evidence from Islamic Resurgence during the Indonesian Financial Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 300-354, 04.
- Townsend, Robert M, 1994.
"Risk and Insurance in Village India,"
Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-91, May.
- Townsend, R.M., 1991. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-3, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
- Robert M. Townsend, . "Risk and Insurance in Village India," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 91-3a, Chicago - Population Research Center.
- Gary S. Becker, 1974.
"Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach,"
in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi, 2007. "Attack Assignments in Terror Organizations and The Productivity of Suicide Bombers," NBER Working Papers 12910, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Wintrobe,Ronald, 2006.
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521859646, Junio.
- 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.
- 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..
- Hamermesh, Daniel S & Soss, Neal M, 1974. "An Economic Theory of Suicide," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 83-98, Jan.-Feb..
- Trajtenberg, Manuel, 2004.
"Defense R&D in the Anti-Terrorist Era,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
4509, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Breton, Albert & Wintrobe, Ronald, 1986. "The Bureaucracy of Murder Revisited," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 905-26, October.
- Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
- Eli Berman & David D. Laitin, 2008.
"Religion, Terrorism and Public Goods: Testing the Club Model,"
NBER Working Papers
13725, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Berman, Eli & Laitin, David D., 2008. "Religion, terrorism and public goods: Testing the club model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1942-1967, October.
- Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi, 2007. "Human Capital and the Productivity of Suicide Bombers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 223-238, Summer.
- Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
- Eli Berman & David Laitin, 2005. "Hard Targets: Theory and Evidence on Suicide Attacks," NBER Working Papers 11740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:pri:indrel:dsp01bk1289895 is not listed on IDEAS
- repec:pri:rpdevs:krueger_maleckova_education_poverty_political is not listed on IDEAS
- Eli Berman, 2003. "Hamas, Taliban and the Jewish Underground: An Economist's View of Radical Religious Militias," NBER Working Papers 10004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Eli Berman & Laurence R. Iannaccone, 2005.
"Religious Extremism: The Good, The Bad, and The Deadly,"
NBER Working Papers
11663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Laurence Iannaccone & Eli Berman, 2006. "Religious extremism: The good, the bad, and the deadly," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 109-129, July.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:10-11:p:1942-1967. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Shamier, Wendy)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.