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Does Terrorism Work?

  • Eric D. Gould

    (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Centre for Economic Policy Research, and Institute for the Study of Labor.)

  • Esteban F. Klor

    (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Centre for Economic Policy Research.)

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. (c) 2010 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology..

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

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

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:4:p:1459-1510
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  1. 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.
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  11. Lapan, Harvey E. & Sandler, Todd, 1993. "Terrorism and signalling," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 383-397, August.
  12. David A. Jaeger & Esteban F. Klor & Sami H. Miaari & M. Daniele Paserman, 2008. "The Struggle for Palestinian Hearts and Minds: Violence and Public Opinion in the Second Intifada," NBER Working Papers 13956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Claude Berrebi, 2003. "Evidence About the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism Among Palestinians," Working Papers 856, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  14. 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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  17. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2008. "Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism?: Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate," Working Papers 477-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  18. 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.
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