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Earthquakes, hurricanes, and terrorism: do natural disasters incite terror?

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  • Claude Berrebi

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  • Jordan Ostwald

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Abstract

A novel and important issue in contemporary security policy is the impact of natural disasters on terrorism. Natural disasters can strain a society and its government, creating vulnerabilities which terrorist groups might exploit. Using a structured methodology and detailed data on terrorism, disasters, and other relevant controls for 167 countries between 1970 and 2007, the authors find a strong positive impact of disaster-related deaths on subsequent terrorism deaths and incidence. They find that, on average, an increase in deaths from natural disasters of 25,000 leads to an increase in the following year of approximately 33 percent in the number of deaths from terrorism, an increase of approximately 22 percent in the number of terrorist attacks, and an increase of approximately 16 percent in the number wounded in terrorist attacks, holding all other factors constant. Furthermore, the effects differ by disaster types and country characteristics. Results were consistently significant and robust across a multitude of disaster and terrorism measures for a diverse set of model specifications. The results have strong implications for both disaster and terrorism mitigation policy.
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Suggested Citation

  • Claude Berrebi & Jordan Ostwald, 2011. "Earthquakes, hurricanes, and terrorism: do natural disasters incite terror?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 383-403, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:149:y:2011:i:3:p:383-403
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-011-9868-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Natasa Bilkic & Thomas Gries, 2014. "Uncertainty and Conflict Decision," Working Papers CIE 78, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.
    2. Todd Sandler, 2011. "The many faces of counterterrorism: an introduction," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 225-234, December.
    3. Karima Kourtit & Peter Nijkamp & Mark D. Partridge & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2013. "The new urban world 2050: perspectives, prospects and problems," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(2), pages 153-165, June.
    4. Nauro F. Campos & Martin Gassebner, 2013. "International Terrorism, Domestic Political Instability, and the Escalation Effect," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 27-47, March.
    5. repec:eee:pubeco:v:153:y:2017:i:c:p:32-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. José García-Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2018. "Earthquakes and Terrorism: The Long Lasting Effect of Seismic Shocks," Working Papers 1020, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    7. Michael Jetter, 2017. "Mediated Terrorism: US News and Al-Qaeda Attacks," CESifo Working Paper Series 6804, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2018. "Earthquakes and terrorism: the long lasting effect of seismic shocks," Economics Working Papers 1599, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    9. Bilkic, Natasa & Gries, Thomas, 2012. "When to Attack an Oppressive Government?," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62031, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Metaxas, Theodore & Kechagia, Polyxeni, 2017. "FDI and Terrorism in developing Asia: Approaches and Discussion," MPRA Paper 78165, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Terrorism; Disaster; Panel data; D74; H56; Q54; C23;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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