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Does Income Inequality Lead to Terrorism?

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  • Tim Krieger
  • Daniel Meierrieks

Abstract

We analyze the effect of income inequality on terrorism for a sample of 114 countries between 1985 and 2012. We provide evidence, robust to various methodological changes (e.g., different dependent variables, instrumental-variable approaches), that higher levels of income inequality are associated with more terrorism. Consistent with relative deprivation theory, we argue that this effect is a direct consequence of frustration over the distribution of income within a society, resulting in terrorism to voice dissent and achieve a redistribution of wealth. Furthermore, we provide evidence of an indirect effect of inequality on terrorism, where inequality may also contribute to terrorism by leading to weaker institutions. Finally, we show that redistributional efforts can be effective in reducing inequality and, consequently, terrorist activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Krieger & Daniel Meierrieks, 2016. "Does Income Inequality Lead to Terrorism?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5821, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5821
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza & Krieger, Tim, 2017. "The response of income inequality to positive oil rents shocks in Iran: Implications for the post-sanction period," Discussion Paper Series 2017-04, University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy.
    2. repec:eee:poleco:v:49:y:2017:i:c:p:47-70 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Dold, Malte & Krieger, Tim, 2017. "Competition or conflict? Beyond traditional ordo-liberalism," Discussion Paper Series 2017-02, University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy.
    4. Farzanegan, Mohammad Reza & Witthuhn, Stefan, 2017. "Corruption and political stability: Does the youth bulge matter?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 47-70.
    5. Sarah Brockhoff & Tim Krieger & Daniel Meierrieks, 2010. "Ties That Do Not Bind (Directly): The Education-Terrorism Nexus Revisited," Working Papers CIE 26, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.
    6. Tim Krieger & Daniel Meierrieks, 2011. "Terrorist Financing and Money Laundering," Working Papers CIE 40, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.
    7. Nicola, Brugali & Paolo, Buonanno & Mario, Gilli, 2018. "Political Regimes and the Determinants of Terrorism and Counter-terrorism," Working Papers 384, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised 13 Jul 2018.
    8. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Tim Krieger, 2018. "Oil Rents Shocks and Inequality in Iran," CESifo Working Paper Series 6876, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    income inequality; terrorism; Gini coefficient; relative deprivation; redistribution;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • C36 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimation

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