IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cep/cepdps/dp1079.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Fear and the Response to Terrorism: An Economic Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Gary S. Becker
  • Yona Rubinstein

Abstract

This paper offers a rational approach to the economics and psychology of fear and provides empirical evidence that supports our theory. We explicitly consider both the impact of danger on emotions and the distortive effect of fear on subjective beliefs and individual choices. Yet, we also acknowledge individuals' capacity to manage their emotions. Though costly, people can learn to control their fear and economic incentives affect the degree to which they do so. Since it does not pay back the same returns to everyone, people will differ in their reaction to impending danger. We then empirically examine the response of Israelis to terror incidents during the 'Al-Aqsa' Intifada. Consistent with our theory, the overall impact of attacks on the usage of goods and services subject to terror attacks (e.g. bus services, coffee shops) reflects solely the reactions of occasional users. We find no impact of terrorist attacks on the demand for these goods and services by frequent users. Education and the exposure to media coverage also matters. We find a large impact of suicide attacks during regular media coverage days, and almost no impact of suicide attacks when they are followed by either a holiday or a weekend, especially among the less educated families and among occasional users.

Suggested Citation

  • Gary S. Becker & Yona Rubinstein, 2011. "Fear and the Response to Terrorism: An Economic Analysis," CEP Discussion Papers dp1079, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1079
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1079.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gordon Dahl & Stefano DellaVigna, 2009. "Does Movie Violence Increase Violent Crime?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 677-734.
    2. Eckstein, Zvi & Tsiddon, Daniel, 2004. "Macroeconomic consequences of terror: theory and the case of Israel," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 971-1002, July.
    3. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Jonathan A. Parker, 2005. "Optimal Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1092-1118, September.
    4. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-319, June.
    5. Viscusi, W Kip, 1993. "The Value of Risks to Life and Health," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1912-1946, December.
    6. David A. Jaeger & M. Daniele Paserman, 2008. "The Cycle of Violence? An Empirical Analysis of Fatalities in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1591-1604, September.
    7. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta & Oscar Volij, 2008. "Experientia Docet: Professionals Play Minimax in Laboratory Experiments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 71-115, January.
    8. Stefano DellaVigna & Ethan Kaplan, 2007. "The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1187-1234.
    9. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2008. "Preschool Television Viewing and Adolescent Test Scores: Historical Evidence from the Coleman Study," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 279-323.
    10. Alan B. Krueger, 2007. "Introduction to What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism," Introductory Chapters, in: What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism, Princeton University Press.
    11. Andrew Caplin & John Leahy, 2001. "Psychological Expected Utility Theory and Anticipatory Feelings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 55-79.
    12. Eric D. Gould & Esteban F. Klor, 2010. "Does Terrorism Work?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1459-1510.
    13. Schultz, Theodore W, 1975. "The Value of the Ability to Deal with Disequilibria," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 827-846, September.
    14. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi, 2007. "Human Capital and the Productivity of Suicide Bombers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 223-238, Summer.
    15. A. C. Cameron & P. K. Trivedi & Frank Milne & J. Piggott, 1988. "A Microeconometric Model of the Demand for Health Care and Health Insurance in Australia," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 55(1), pages 85-106.
    16. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003. "Professionals Play Minimax," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(2), pages 395-415.
    17. Magat, Wesley A & Viscusi, W Kip & Huber, Joel, 1988. "Consumer Processing of Hazard Warning Information," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 201-232, June.
    18. Moses Shayo & Asaf Zussman, 2011. "Judicial Ingroup Bias in the Shadow of Terrorism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1447-1484.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Jetter, Michael, 2017. "Terrorism and the Media: The Effect of US Television Coverage on Al-Qaeda Attacks," IZA Discussion Papers 10708, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Michael Jetter, 2017. "Mediated Terrorism: US News and Al-Qaeda Attacks," CESifo Working Paper Series 6804, CESifo.
    3. Jetter, Michael, 2019. "The inadvertent consequences of al-Qaeda news coverage," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 391-410.
    4. Ivandic, Ria & Kirchmaier, Tom & Machin, Stephen, 2019. "Jihadi Attacks, Media and Local Hate Crime," CEPR Discussion Papers 13743, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    6. Macera, Rosario, 2014. "Dynamic beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 1-18.
    7. Manudeep Bhuller & Tarjei Havnes & Edwin Leuven & Magne Mogstad, 2013. "Broadband Internet: An Information Superhighway to Sex Crime?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(4), pages 1237-1266.
    8. Bracha, Anat & Brown, Donald J., 2012. "Affective decision making: A theory of optimism bias," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 67-80.
    9. Kai Barron, 2021. "Belief updating: does the ‘good-news, bad-news’ asymmetry extend to purely financial domains?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 24(1), pages 31-58, March.
    10. Chen, Si, 2012. "Optimistic versus Pessimistic--Optimal Judgemental Bias with Reference Point," MPRA Paper 50693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Principe, Francesco & Carrieri, Vincenzo, 2020. "Health's kitchen: TV, edutainment and nutrition," Ruhr Economic Papers 883, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi & Esteban Klor, 2010. "Counter-Suicide-Terrorism: Evidence from House Demolitions," NBER Working Papers 16493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Rafael Di Tella & Ricardo Pérez-Truglia, 2010. "Conveniently Upset: Avoiding Altruism by Distorting Beliefs About Others," NBER Working Papers 16645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Schwardmann, Peter, 2019. "Motivated health risk denial and preventative health care investments," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 78-92.
    15. Elyès Jouini & Paul Karehnke & Clotilde Napp, 2014. "On Portfolio Choice with Savoring and Disappointment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(3), pages 796-804, March.
    16. Elyès Jouini & Clotilde Napp, 2018. "The Impact of Health-Related Emotions on Belief Formation and Behavior," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 84(3), pages 405-427, May.
    17. repec:zbw:cfswop:wp200628 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Markus K. Brunnermeier & Filippos Papakonstantinou & Jonathan A. Parker, 2017. "Optimal Time-Inconsistent Beliefs: Misplanning, Procrastination, and Commitment," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 63(5), pages 1318-1340, May.
    19. Friedrich Schneider & Tilman Brück & Daniel Meierrieks, 2010. "The Economics of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: A Survey (Part II)," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1050, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    20. Roland Benabou & Jean Tirole, 2009. "Over My Dead Body: Bargaining and the Price of Dignity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 459-465, May.
    21. Anat Bracha & Donald J. Brown, 2007. "Affective Decision Making: A Behavioral Theory of Choice," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1633R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Apr 2009.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economics; psychology; education;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:cep:cepdps:dp1079. 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: . General contact details of provider: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP .

    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.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP .

    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.