IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Terrorism Experiments


  • Daniel G Arce

    () (The University of Texas at Dallas)

  • Rachel TA Croson

    (The University of Texas at Dallas)

  • Catherine C Eckel

    (The University of Texas at Dallas)


Experimental research has a long-established tradition in psychology and sociology, and a more recent but important history as a useful methodology in economics. In this article, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of experiments as a method for studying terrorism and other national security topics. For example, given the paucity of data on counterterror policy decisions by governments, as well as for planning, targeting and selecting methods of attack by terrorist organizers, the experimental approach can substitute for this lack of field data. Experiments can also identify policy counterfactuals that might otherwise be unobservable. Hence, we begin by discussing several theoretical themes in the analysis of terrorism: interdependent security games such as airline screening; the dual nature of pre-emptive versus deterrent counterterror policies and the implications of this duality for policy coordination among targeted nations; the resurgence of interest in Colonel Blotto games when properly adjusted to reflect the asymmetric conflict between target governments and terrorist groups; and the relationship between terrorist activity and extreme punishments (or vendettas). The small but emerging literature using experiments to examine these issues is reviewed, paying particular attention to how experimental results can inform theory and policy. Finally, we propose new directions for researchers to explore.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel G Arce & Rachel TA Croson & Catherine C Eckel, 2011. "Terrorism Experiments," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 48(3), pages 373-382, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:48:y:2011:i:3:p:373-382

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1996. "Income distribution, political instability, and investment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1203-1228, June.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:01:p:75-90_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Massimo Guidolin & Eliana La Ferrara, 2007. "Diamonds Are Forever, Wars Are Not: Is Conflict Bad for Private Firms?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1978-1993, December.
    4. Svensson, Jakob, 1998. "Investment, property rights and political instability: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(7), pages 1317-1341, July.
    5. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    6. Rigobon, Roberto & Sack, Brian, 2005. "The effects of war risk on US financial markets," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1769-1789, July.
    7. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Income Distribution, Political Instability, and Investment," Scholarly Articles 4553018, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    8. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-573, October.
    9. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    10. Alberto Abadie & Javier Gardeazabal, 2001. "The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case-Control Study for the Basque Country," NBER Working Papers 8478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2009. "Using Markets to Inform Policy: The Case of the Iraq War," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(302), pages 225-250, April.
    13. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. McBride, Michael & Hewitt, David, 2013. "The enemy you can’t see: An investigation of the disruption of dark networks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 32-50.
    2. Kimbrough, Erik & Sheremeta, Roman, 2014. "Why can’t we be friends? Entitlements and the costs of conflict," MPRA Paper 53253, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Kjell Hausken, 2014. "Individual versus overarching protection and attack of assets," Central European Journal of Operations Research, Springer;Slovak Society for Operations Research;Hungarian Operational Research Society;Czech Society for Operations Research;Österr. Gesellschaft für Operations Research (ÖGOR);Slovenian Society Informatika - Section for Operational Research;Croatian Operational Research Society, vol. 22(1), pages 89-112, March.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:48:y:2011:i:3:p:373-382. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.