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The effect of migration on terror: Made at home or imported from abroad?

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  • Axel Dreher
  • Martin Gassebner
  • Paul Schaudt

Abstract

We analyze how a country's immigrant population—defined as the stock of people born abroad—affects the probability of a terrorist attack in the host country. Using data for 20 OECD host countries and 183 countries of origin over the 1980–2010 period our OLS and 2SLS regressions show that the probability that immigrants from a specific country of origin conduct a terrorist attack in their host country increases with a larger number of foreigners from such countries living there. However, this scale effect does not differ from the effect domestic populations have on domestic terror. We find scarce evidence that terror is systematically imported from countries with large Muslim populations or countries where terror networks prevail. Policies that exclude foreigners already living in a country increase rather than reduce the risk that foreign populations turn violent, and so do terrorist attacks against foreigners in their host country. Highly skilled migrants are associated with a significantly lower risk of terror compared with low skilled ones, while there is no significant difference between foreign‐born men and women. L’effet de l’immigration sur le terrorisme: pur produit domestique ou importé de l’étranger? Dans cet article, nous analysons la façon dont la population immigrée d’un pays, c’est à dire la population née à l’étranger, a une incidence sur la probabilité d’une attaque terroriste dans le pays d’accueil. En s’appuyant sur les données de 20 pays d’accueil de l’OCDE et 183 pays d’origine, nos régressions à moindres carrés ordinaire (MCO) et à doubles moindres carrés (2SLS) montrent que la probabilité que des immigrants d’un pays d’origine particulier commettent une attaque terroriste dans leur pays d’accueil augmente dès lors que la population immigrée de même nationalité est importante au sein du même pays. Néanmoins, cet effet d’échelle ne diffère en rien de celui que peut avoir les populations nationales sur le terrorisme local. Nous n’avons pas dégagé de preuves évidentes corroborant le fait que le terrorisme est systématiquement importé de pays à vaste population musulmane ou de pays où règnent de nombreux réseaux terroristes. Les politiques excluant les étrangers vivant déjà dans un pays ont plutôt tendance à augmenter le risque que cette population ne se tourne vers la violence que de le réduire, et il en va de même pour les attaques terroristes visant les étrangers dans leur pays d’accueil. En matière de terrorisme, les immigrants hautement qualifiés sont associés à un risque sensiblement moindre que les immigrants peu qualifiés, et il n’y a pas de différence significative entre les hommes et les femmes nés à l’étranger.

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  • Axel Dreher & Martin Gassebner & Paul Schaudt, 2020. "The effect of migration on terror: Made at home or imported from abroad?," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(4), pages 1703-1744, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:canjec:v:53:y:2020:i:4:p:1703-1744
    DOI: 10.1111/caje.12469
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    1. Böhmelt, Tobias & Bove, Vincenzo, 2017. "How Migration Policies Moderate the Diffusion of Terrorism," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 349, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    2. Dreher, Axel & Fuchs, Andreas & Langlotz, Sarah, 2019. "The effects of foreign aid on refugee flows," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 127-147.
    3. Helbling, Marc & Meierrieks, Daniel, 2022. "Terrorism and Migration: An Overview," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 977-996.
    4. Forrester, Andrew C. & Powell, Benjamin & Nowrasteh, Alex & Landgrave, Michelangelo, 2019. "Do immigrants import terrorism?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 529-543.
    5. Krieger, Tim, 2020. "Migration and terrorism," Discussion Paper Series 2020-06, University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy.
    6. Tobias Böhmelt & Vincenzo Bove & Enzo Nussio, 2020. "Can Terrorism Abroad Influence Migration Attitudes at Home?," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 64(3), pages 437-451, July.
    7. Anthony Edo & Lionel Ragot & Hillel Rapoport & Sulin Sardoschau & Andreas Steinmayr & Arthur Sweetman, 2020. "An introduction to the economics of immigration in OECD countries," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(4), pages 1365-1403, November.
    8. Tobias Bohmelt & Vincenzo Bove, 2018. "How Migration Policies Moderate the Diffusion of Terrorism," Working Papers 1003, European Centre of Peace Science, Integration and Cooperation (CESPIC), Catholic University 'Our Lady of Good Counsel'.
    9. Brodeur, Abel & Wright, Taylor, 2019. "Terrorism, immigration and asylum approval," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 119-131.
    10. Ebert, Cara & Vollmer, Sebastian, 2022. "Girls unwanted – The role of parents’ child-specific sex preference for children’s early mental development," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    11. Tobias Böhmelt & Vincenzo Bove, 2020. "Does cultural proximity contain terrorism diffusion?," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 57(2), pages 251-264, March.

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    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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