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Can Militants Use Violence to Win Public Support? Evidence from the Second Intifada

  • M. Daniele Paserman


    (Department of Economics, Boston University, NBER, CEPR and IZA)

  • Esteban F. Klor

    (Department of Economics, Hebrew University and CEPR)

  • Sami H. Miaari


    (University of Haifa and DIW)

This paper investigates whether attacks against Israeli targets help Palestinian factions gain public support. We link individual level survey data to the full list of Israeli fatalities during the period of the Second Intifada (2000-2006), and estimate a flexible discrete choice model for faction supported. We find some support for the “outbidding” hypothesis, the notion that Palestinian factions use violence to gain prestige and influence public opinion within the community. In particular, the two leading Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, gain in popularity following successful attacks against Israeli targets. Our results suggest, however, that most movement occurs within either the secular groups or within the Islamist groups, but not between them. That is, Fatah’s gains come at the expense of smaller secular factions while Hamas’ gains come at the expense of smaller Islamic factions and the disaffected. In contrast, attacks by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad lower support for that faction.

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Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2011-046.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2011-046
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  1. Jaeger, David A. & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2009. "The Shape of Things to Come? On the Dynamics of Suicide Attacks and Targeted Killings," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 4(4), pages 315-342, December.
  2. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2009. "The Economic Cost of Harboring Terrorism," NBER Working Papers 15465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. M. Daniele Paserman & Esteban F. Klor & Sami H. Miaari & David A. Jaeger, 2011. "The struggle for Palestinian hearts and minds: Violence and public opinion in the Second Intifada," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-047, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  4. Eric D. Gould & Esteban F. Klor, 2009. "Does Terrorism Work?," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 12, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Jaeger, David A & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2005. "The Cycle of Violence? An Empirical Analysis of Fatalities in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict," CEPR Discussion Papers 5320, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kydd, Andrew & Walter, Barbara F., 2002. "Sabotaging the Peace: The Politics of Extremist Violence," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(02), pages 263-296, March.
  7. David A. Jaeger & M. Daniele Paserman, 2006. "Israel, the Palestinian Factions, and the Cycle of Violence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 45-49, May.
  8. David A. Jaeger & M. Daniele Paserman, 2007. "The Shape of Things to Come? Assessing the Effectiveness of Suicide Attacks and Targeted Killings," Working Papers 54, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  9. 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.
  10. Berman, Eli & Laitin, David D., 2008. "Religion, terrorism and public goods: Testing the club model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 1942-1967, October.
  11. Blomberg, S. Brock & Hess, Gregory D. & Weerapana, Akila, 2004. "Economic conditions and terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 463-478, June.
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