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It can happen here: the impact of the Mumbai terror attacks on public opinion in Western Europe

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  • Henning Finseraas

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  • Ola Listhaug

Abstract

Do terror attacks have an impact on public opinion, even if the terror attacks happen far away? We exploit the fact that the fourth round of the European Social Survey was conducted in several West European countries at the time of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India, in order to identify the causal effect of the Mumbai attacks on public opinion. We identify a clear jump in fear of terrorism at home as a consequence of the terror attacks, but despite the increase in fear of terrorism, we find no significant effect of the attack on support for illiberal interrogation techniques or for liberal immigration policies. We do find indications of a shift in conservative direction on the left–right scale, but this shift is not significant in all time windows. Our findings suggest that a terror attack needs to have a very large impact on the fear of terrorism before people change their policy preferences. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Henning Finseraas & Ola Listhaug, 2013. "It can happen here: the impact of the Mumbai terror attacks on public opinion in Western Europe," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 213-228, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:156:y:2013:i:1:p:213-228
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-011-9895-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Carlos Bozzoli & Cathérine Müller, 2009. "Perceptions and Attitudes to a Terrorist Shock: Evidence from the UK," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 13, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
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    7. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859.
    8. William Shughart, 2006. "An analytical history of terrorism, 1945–2000," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 7-39, July.
    9. Berrebi, Claude & Klor, Esteban F., 2008. "Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism? Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 279-301, August.
    10. Henning Finseraas & Niklas Jakobsson & Andreas Kotsadam, 2011. "Did the Murder of Theo van Gogh Change Europeans' Immigration Policy Preferences?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 396-409, August.
    11. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2008. "Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism?: Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate," Working Papers 477-1, RAND Corporation.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:pubcho:v:178:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-018-0612-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Paschalis Arvanitidis & Athina Economou & Christos Kollias, 2016. "Terrorism’s effects on social capital in European countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(3), pages 231-250, December.
    3. Schüller, Simone, 2015. "The 9/11 conservative shift," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 80-84.
    4. repec:kap:pubcho:v:173:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0477-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:zbw:medamr:182240 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jensen, Carsten & Naumann, Elias, 2016. "Increasing pressures and support for public healthcare in Europe," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(6), pages 698-705.
    7. Akay, Alpaslan & Bargain, Olivier & Elsayed, Ahmed, 2018. "Everybody's a Victim? Global Terror, Well-Being and Political Attitudes," Working Papers in Economics 733, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

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