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Terrorist Factions

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  • de Mesquita, Ethan Bueno

Abstract

I study how a variety of structural and strategic factors affect terrorist mobilization, the likelihood of a splinter faction forming, and the positions adopted by terrorist leaders. The factors considered include the state of the economy, the viability of institutions for the nonviolent expression of grievance, the ability of the factional leaders to provide nonideological benefits, and the risks associated with splintering. The model highlights that, for strategic reasons, changes in the structural environment often entail trade-offs between decreasing terrorist mobilization and increasing extremism. For instance, strengthening the economy or institutions for the nonviolent expression of grievance is found to decrease terrorist mobilization, increase the extremism of terrorist factions, and decrease the likelihood of a splinter faction forming. These results suggest competing micro-level effects of such changes on the expected level of violence that, because they are offsetting, might not be observed in macro-level data analyses, which have been the mainstay of empirical studies of terrorism.

Suggested Citation

  • de Mesquita, Ethan Bueno, 2008. "Terrorist Factions," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 399-418, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:now:jlqjps:100.00008006
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00008006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2006. "An experimental study of storable votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 123-154, October.
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    3. Casella, Alessandra, 2005. "Storable votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 391-419.
    4. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2007. "Qualitative Voting," Economics Series Working Papers 320, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:02:p:413-418_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Paul R. Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1985. "Distributional Strategies for Games with Incomplete Information," Mathematics of Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 10(4), pages 619-632, November.
    7. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2012. "Qualitative voting," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 24(4), pages 526-554, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benmelech, Efraim & Berrebi, Claude & Klor, Esteban F, 2010. "Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism," CEPR Discussion Papers 7995, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Francesco Amodio & Leonardo Baccini & Michele di Maio, "undated". "Security, Trade, and Political Violence," HiCN Working Papers 250, Households in Conflict Network.
    3. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 3-57.
    4. Krieger, Tim & Meierrieks, Daniel, 2014. "How to deal with international terrorism," Discussion Paper Series 2014-03, University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy.
    5. Shadmehr, Mehdi, 2015. "Extremism in revolutionary movements," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 97-121.

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