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Global Security Policies Against Terrorism and the Free Riding Problem: An Experimental Approach

  • Nathalie Colombier
  • David Masclet
  • Daniel Mirza
  • Claude Montmarquette

The World Trade Center attack has shed light on the urgent need to implement preventing measures against terrorism and to enhance cooperation in the global security system for all countries. However, international coordination cannot be taken for granted. It is often ineffective and likely to fail for several reasons. Perhaps the more prominent reason to explain failure in coordination is that collective actions against terrorism may suffer from the well known free riding problem (Sandler and Enders, 2004). In this paper we experimentally investigate cooperation dilemma in counterterrorism policies by measuring to what extent international deterrence policy may suffer from free riding. In our game, contributions to the group account do not aim to increase the production of the public good but instead seek to decrease the probability that a stochastic event destroys the good. A country could choose to free ride by investing nothing in the international deterrence policy and instead invest all its resources in its own national protection or even choose to ignore totally terrorism by investing on alternative projects. We also look at the effects of institutions that allow sanctioning and rewarding of other countries to facilitate coordination on deterrence policy. We find that, in absence of institutional incentives and after controlling for risk aversion, most of countries defect by investing very weakly in collective actions against terrorism while largely investing to protect themselves. In contrast, the introduction of punishment/reward incentive systems improves significantly the contribution level to the collective security account. L'attentat qui a frappé le World Trade Center a fait la lumière sur l'urgence de mettre en uvre des mesures préventives contre le terrorisme et d'améliorer la collaboration au sein du système de sécurité mondial en faisant intervenir tous les pays. Toutefois, on ne peut tenir la coordination internationale pour acquise car elle est souvent inefficace et risque d'échouer pour plusieurs raisons. L'échec de la coordination s'explique peut-être de façon plus marquée par le fait que les actions collectives contre le terrorisme sont susceptibles de souffrir d'un problème bien connu appelé resquillage (Sandler et Enders, 2004). Dans le présent document, nous examinons au moyen d'expériences le dilemme au sujet de la collaboration qui est posé par les politiques contre le terrorisme et nous tentons d'établir dans quelle mesure la politique internationale de dissuasion peut souffrir du phénomène de resquillage. Dans le cadre de notre jeu, les contributions au compte collectif ne visent pas à augmenter la production du bien public, mais plutôt à diminuer la probabilité qu'un événement stochastique détruise le bien en question. Un pays pourrait choisir de resquiller, soit en n'investissant pas dans la politique internationale de dissuasion, mais en utilisant plutôt toutes ses ressources pour sa protection nationale. Il pourrait aussi choisir d'ignorer totalement le terrorisme et d'investir dans certains autres projets. Nous nous penchons aussi sur l'influence qu'exercent les organismes qui permettent de sanctionner ou de récompenser les autres pays dans le but de faciliter la coordination en matière de politique de dissuasion. Nous constatons que, en l'absence d'encouragements institutionnels et une fois l'aversion à l'égard du risque maîtrisée, la plupart des pays font défection en investissant très peu dans les actions collectives contre le terrorisme et beaucoup dans leur propre protection. Par contre, l'introduction de mécanismes d'encouragement axés sur les punitions ou les récompenses améliore considérablement l'ampleur de la participation au compte collectif pour la sécurité.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2009s-44.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: 01 Oct 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2009s-44
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