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Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism

  • Benmelech, Efraim
  • Berrebi, Claude
  • Klor, Esteban F

We analyze the link between economic conditions and the quality of suicide terrorism. While the existing empirical literature shows that poverty and economic conditions are not correlated with the quantity of terror, theory predicts that poverty and poor economic conditions may affect the quality of terror. Poor economic conditions may lead more able, better-educated individuals to participate in terror attacks, allowing terror organizations to send better-qualified terrorists to more complex, higher-impact, terror missions. Using the universe of Palestinian suicide terrorists against Israeli targets between the years 2000 and 2006 we provide evidence on the correlation between economic conditions, the characteristics of suicide terrorists and the targets they attack. High levels of unemployment enable terror organizations to recruit more educated, mature and experienced suicide terrorists who in turn attack more important Israeli targets.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7995.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7995
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  1. Alberto Abadie, 2006. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 50-56, May.
  2. Claude Berrebi & Esteban Klor, 2004. "On Terrorism and Electoral Outcomes: Theory and Evidence from the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," Working Papers 859, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Eric D. Gould & Esteban F. Klor, 2009. "Does Terrorism Work?," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 12, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Jaeger, David A. & Klor, Esteban F. & Miaari, Sami H. & Paserman, M. Daniele, 2012. "The struggle for Palestinian hearts and minds: Violence and public opinion in the Second Intifada," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(3), pages 354-368.
  5. Konstantinos Drakos & Andreas Gofas, 2006. "In Search Of The Average Transnational Terrorist Attack Venue," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 73-93.
  6. 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.
  7. David A. Jaeger & M. Daniele Paserman, 2005. "Israel, the Palestinian Factions, and the Cycle of Violence," Working Papers 23, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  8. 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.
  9. Claude Berrebi & Darius Lakdawalla, 2007. "How Does Terrorism Risk Vary Across Space And Time? An Analysis Based On The Israeli Experience," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 113-131.
  10. David A. Jaeger & M. Daniele Paserman, 2005. "The Cycle of Violence? An Empirical Analysis of Fatalities in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict," Working Papers 22, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  11. Efraim Benmelech & Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2009. "The Economic Cost of Harboring Terrorism," NBER Working Papers 15465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Claude Berrebi, 2003. "Evidence About the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism Among Palestinians," Working Papers 856, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:125:y:2010:i:4:p:1459-1510 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2003. "Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
  15. 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.
  16. de Mesquita, Ethan Bueno, 2008. "Terrorist Factions," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 399-418, December.
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