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On the Duration and Sustainability of Transnational Terrorist Organizations


  • S. Brock Blomberg

    (Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, CA,

  • Rozlyn C. Engel

    (Department of Social Sciences, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY)

  • Reid Sawyer

    (Department of Social Sciences, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, NY)


This article aims to improve scholars’ understanding of how transnational terrorist organizations emerge, survive, thrive, and eventually die.The authors use a data set that catalogues terrorist organizations and their attacks over time (the ITERATE database of thousands of terrorist events from 1968 through 2007) and merge those data with socioeconomic information about the environment in which each attack occurs. They use these data to trace the life cycle pattern of terrorist activity and the organizations that perpetrate them. They identify at least two types of terrorist organizations— recidivists and one-hit wonders. The authors find that recidivist organizations, those that have repeatedly attacked, are less likely to survive once political and socioeconomic factors have been included. However, they find that sporadic or one-hit wonders are not easily deterred by socioeconomic factors, leaving open a role for counterinsurgency tactics.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Brock Blomberg & Rozlyn C. Engel & Reid Sawyer, 2010. "On the Duration and Sustainability of Transnational Terrorist Organizations," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 54(2), pages 303-330, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:54:y:2010:i:2:p:303-330

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    Cited by:

    1. Friedrich Schneider & Tilman Brück & Daniel Meierrieks, 2015. "The Economics Of Counterterrorism: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 131-157, February.
    2. Khusrav Gaibulloev & Todd Sandler, 2014. "An empirical analysis of alternative ways that terrorist groups end," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 25-44, July.
    3. S. Blomberg & Khusrav Gaibulloev & Todd Sandler, 2011. "Terrorist group survival: ideology, tactics, and base of operations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 441-463, December.
    4. Dominik Noe, 2013. "Determinants of the duration and ending of terrorist and other non-state armed groups," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 140, Courant Research Centre PEG, revised 19 Sep 2013.

    More about this item


    conflict; terrorism; survival analysis;


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