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On the human consequences of terrorism


  • Daniel G. Arce

    () (University of Texas at Dallas)


Terrorist attacks are regarded as low-probability, highly consequential events. What, exactly, are the significant effects of terrorism? This paper presents a cross-sectional depiction of the death and injury profiles for nine of the most violent terrorism tactics: six types of bombings, mass shootings, combined shootings and explosions, and intentional vehicular assaults. By constructing a composite injury and death profile for each tactic under study, terrorist incidents can be ranked in terms of the number of disability adjusted lives lost and disability adjusted life years lost. In addition, the human consequences of terrorism as a whole (on an annual basis) are placed in context relative to the global burden of disease and counterterror expenditures.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel G. Arce, 2019. "On the human consequences of terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 178(3), pages 371-396, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:178:y:2019:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-018-0590-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-018-0590-9

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Gries & Tim Krieger & Daniel Meierrieks, 2011. "Causal Linkages Between Domestic Terrorism and Economic Growth," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(5), pages 493-508, June.
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    12. Ghobarah, Hazem Adam & Huth, Paul & Russett, Bruce, 2003. "Civil Wars Kill and Maim People—Long After the Shooting Stops," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 97(2), pages 189-202, May.
    13. Johann Park & Valentina Bali, 2017. "International Terrorism and the Political Survival of Leaders," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 61(7), pages 1343-1370, August.
    14. Gassebner, Martin & Jong-A-Pin, Richard & Mierau, Jochen O., 2008. "Terrorism and electoral accountability: One strike, you're out!," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 126-129, July.
    15. 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.
    16. Konstantinos Drakos & Ali M. Kutan, 2003. "Regional Effects of Terrorism on Tourism in Three Mediterranean Countries," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 47(5), pages 621-641, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Siqueira, Kevin & Arce, Daniel, 2020. "Terrorist training: Onsite or via the Internet?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).

    More about this item


    Terrorism; Casualties; Injuries; DALYs; Global burden of disease;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F5 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions


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