Terrorism Prevention and Electoral Accountability
How does electoral accountability affect the effectiveness of terrorism prevention in a democ- racy? We analyze the connection between electoral accountability and policy effectiveness in the context of terrorism prevention. We develop a formal model of an interaction between a government, a minority community, and a representative voter. All actors share the objective of terrorism prevention and have symmetric information. We show that electoral pressures to be successful in terrorism prevention create a commitment problem for the government and this can lead to less security. If the representative voter cares more about terrorism prevention, the government intensifies anti-terrorism activities that are under its direct control, but cooperation by the minority community weakens, and, as a result, security may decrease. We also show that commitment to ex-post suboptimal anti-terrorism activity is desirable for the government, but such commitment is difficult to achieve without explicit institutional constraints such as an effective judicial review on government’s antiterrorism actions.
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