Torture in counterterrorism: Agency incentives and slippery slopes
We develop a counterterrorism model to analyze the effects of allowing a government agency to torture suspects when evidence of terrorist involvement is strong. We find that legalizing torture in strong-evidence cases has offsetting effects on agency incentives to counter terrorism by means other than torture. It lowers these incentives because the agency may come to rely on torture to avert attacks. However, it also increases these incentives because other efforts may increase the probability of having strong enough evidence to warrant the use of torture. Legalizing torture in strong-evidence cases is more likely to reduce non-torture efforts if these efforts are more effective at stopping attacks and less effective at turning up strong evidence when the suspect is guilty. If it reduces non-torture efforts, it can reduce security and is more likely to do so if the attack threat is higher. Moreover, if torture is used in strong-evidence cases even if torture is banned, legalizing torture in strong-evidence cases necessarily reduces security if it reduces non-torture efforts. Lastly, it can increase incentives to torture even in weak-evidence cases—a slippery slope.
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.:
- 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.
- 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.
- Siqueira, Kevin & Sandler, Todd, 2007. "Terrorist backlash, terrorism mitigation, and policy delegation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(9), pages 1800-1815, September.
- Shmuel Leshem, 2010. "The benefits of a right to silence for the innocent," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 41(2), pages 398-416.
- Francesco Parisi & Jonathan Klick & Nuno Garoupa, 2006. "A Law and Economics Perspective on Terrorism," Working Papers 2006-09, FEDEA.
- Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner & Lars-H. Siemers, 2010. "Does Terrorism Threaten Human Rights? Evidence from Panel Data," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 65-93, 02.
- Hugo M. Mialon & Paul H. Rubin, 2008. "The Economics of the Bill of Rights," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 1-60.
- Nuno Garoupa & Jonathan Klick & Francesco Parisi, 2006. "A law and economics perspective on terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 147-168, July.
- Abraham L. Wickelgren, 2010. "A Right to Silence for Civil Defendants?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 92-114, April.
- Walter Enders & Todd Sandler, 2005. "Transnational Terrorism 1968–2000: Thresholds, Persistence, and Forecasts," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 467-482, January.
- Steven Shavell, 2007. "Optimal Discretion in the Application of Rules," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 175-194.
- Sandler, Todd & Enders, Walter, 2004. "An economic perspective on transnational terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-316, June.
- Chen Kong-Pin & Tsai Tsung-Sheng, 2015. "Judicial Torture as a Screening Device," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 277-312, July.
- Sobel, Joel, 2000. "A Model of Declining Standards," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 295-303, May.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:96:y:2012:i:1:p:33-41. 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: (Zhang, Lei)
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.