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Does Terrorism Work?

Listed author(s):
  • Eric D. Gould
  • Esteban F. Klor

This paper examines whether terrorism is an effective tool for achieving political goals. By exploiting geographic variation in terror attacks in Israel from 1988 to 2006, we show that local terror attacks cause Israelis to be more willing to grant territorial concessions to the Palestinians. These effects are stronger for demographic groups that are traditionally right-wing in their political views. However, terror attacks beyond a certain threshold cause Israelis to adopt a less accommodating position. In addition, terror induces Israelis to vote increasingly for right-wing parties, as the right-wing parties move to the left in response to terror. Hence, terrorism appears to be an effective strategy in terms of shifting the entire political landscape to the left, although we do not assess whether it is more effective than non-violent means.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/qjec.2010.125.4.1459
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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 125 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1459-1510

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:4:p:1459-1510.
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  6. 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.
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  15. Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2003. "Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
  16. Radha Iyengar & Jonathan Monten, 2008. "Is There an "Emboldenment" Effect? Evidence from the Insurgency in Iraq," NBER Working Papers 13839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Quan Li, 2005. "Does Democracy Promote or Reduce Transnational Terrorist Incidents?," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 49(2), pages 278-297, April.
  18. Berrebi Claude, 2007. "Evidence about the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism among Palestinians," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-38, December.
  19. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2008. "Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism?: Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate," Working Papers 477-1, RAND Corporation.
  20. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  21. Gary S. Becker & Yona Rubinstein, 2011. "Fear and the Response to Terrorism: An Economic Analysis," CEP Discussion Papers dp1079, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  22. Eli Berman & David Laitin, 2005. "Hard Targets: Theory and Evidence on Suicide Attacks," NBER Working Papers 11740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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