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Does Terrorism Work?

  • Eric D. Gould
  • Esteban F. Klor

This paper examines whether terrorism is an effective tool to achieve political goals. By exploiting variation in terror attacks over time and across locations in Israel from 1984 to 2006, we show that local terror attacks cause Israelis to be: (i) more willing to grant territorial concessions to the Palestinians; (ii) more willing to accept a Palestinian state; (iii) less likely to identify oneself as being right-wing; and (iv) more likely to have a favorable opinion of Arabs. These effects are especially pronounced for individuals from particular demographic groups which are typically right-wing in their political views. In addition, we show that terror induces Israelis to vote increasingly for right-wing parties. This pattern of results demonstrates that right-wing parties are becoming more accommodating to Palestinian demands for territorial concessions. Hence, this paper shows that terrorism appears to be an effective strategy in terms of shifting the entire Israeli political landscape to the left. These findings may shed light on the causes underlying the spread of global terrorism in the last few decades.

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File URL: http://www.diw.de/documents/publikationen/73/diw_01.c.354138.de/diw_econsec0012.pdf
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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Economics of Security Working Paper Series with number 12.

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Length: 41, 17 p.
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:diw:diweos:diweos12
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  1. Lapan, Harvey E. & Sandler, Todd, 1993. "Terrorism and Signalling," Staff General Research Papers 10808, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
  3. Radha Iyengar & Jonathan Monten, 2008. "Is There an "Emboldenment" Effect? Evidence from the Insurgency in Iraq," NBER Working Papers 13839, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Claude Berrebi & Esteban F. Klor, 2004. "On Terrorism and Electoral Outcomes: Theory and Evidence from the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," Working Papers 4, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  5. Dominic Rohner & Bruno Frey, 2007. "Blood and ink! The common-interest-game between terrorists and the media," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 129-145, October.
  6. Berrebi Claude, 2007. "Evidence about the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism among Palestinians," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-38, December.
  7. 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.
  8. David A. Jaeger & Esteban Klor & Sami Miaari & Daniele Paserman, 2008. "The Struggle for Palestinian Hearts and Minds: Violence and Public Opinion in the Second Intifada," HiCN Working Papers 52, Households in Conflict Network.
  9. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 131-161, March.
  10. Benmelech, Efraim & Berrebi, Claude & Klor, Esteban F, 2010. "Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism," CEPR Discussion Papers 7995, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Gary S. Becker & Yona Rubinstein, 2011. "Fear and the Response to Terrorism: An Economic Analysis," CEP Discussion Papers dp1079, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. 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.
  13. Abadie, Alberto, 2004. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," Working Paper Series rwp04-043, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  14. Kydd, Andrew & Walter, Barbara F., 2002. "Sabotaging the Peace: The Politics of Extremist Violence," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(02), pages 263-296, March.
  15. Alan B. Krueger, 2007. "Introduction to What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism
    [What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism]
    ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
  16. Eli Berman & David Laitin, 2005. "Hard Targets: Theory and Evidence on Suicide Attacks," NBER Working Papers 11740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. 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.
  18. M Arellano & O Bover, 1990. "Another Look at the Instrumental Variable Estimation of Error-Components Models," CEP Discussion Papers dp0007, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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