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A Vintage Model of Terrorist Organizations


  • João Ricardo Faria

    (MPA Program, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX, USA)

  • Daniel Arce

    () (Economics Program, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX, USA)


A dynamic model of a terrorist organization is presented with the defining feature being that a succession of operatives is recruited at different points in time. Consequently, a government’s counterterror policy must be tailored according to the vintage structure of the terrorist group that it faces. This implies that past history of counterterror policy and attacks matter for the formulation of current and future policy. The authors present the necessary steps to formulate and solve a vintage model, and to deal with the delay differential equations that naturally arise from the vintage structure. The resulting analysis captures the implications of a diverse set of phenomena such as Internet recruiting, training delays for logistically complex plots, age distribution of operatives, and the sensitivity of government impatience/cabinet composition to terrorist events for the inner dynamics of terrorist organizations and counterterror policy. Directions for future research are also suggested.

Suggested Citation

  • João Ricardo Faria & Daniel Arce, 2012. "A Vintage Model of Terrorist Organizations," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 56(4), pages 629-650, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:56:y:2012:i:4:p:629-650

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    Cited by:

    1. Nicola, Brugali & Paolo, Buonanno & Mario, Gilli, 2018. "Political Regimes and the Determinants of Terrorism and Counter-terrorism," Working Papers 384, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 13 Jul 2018.
    2. Kjell Hausken & Sheheryar Banuri & Dipak Gupta & Klaus Abbink, 2015. "Al Qaeda at the bar: coordinating ideologues and mercenaries in terrorist organizations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(1), pages 57-73, July.


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