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Break it Down: An Alternative Approach to Measuring Effectiveness in Counterterrorism


  • Teun van Dongen


This paper will review the ways in which the effectiveness of counterterrorism measures and policies has been assessed and argue that they suffer largely from the same difficulties. For many of the chosen indicators it is not clear whether they represent what they are supposed to represent and whether shifts in the scores can be attributed to counterterrorism. After having discussed these problems, a different way of measuring counterterrorism effectiveness is outlined. It rests on the assumption that counterterrorism should be broken down into separate components that should all be evaluated separately. For all components, a causal chain from cause (measure) to effect (shift in indicator) should be formulated to solve the meaning and attribution problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Teun van Dongen, 2009. "Break it Down: An Alternative Approach to Measuring Effectiveness in Counterterrorism," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 23, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diweos:diweos23

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Karen Pittel & Dirk Rübbelke, 2011. "Characteristics of Terrorism," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Conflict, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. George A. Akerlof, 2009. "How Human Psychology Drives the Economy and Why It Matters," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1175-1175.
    3. Bryan Caplan, 2006. "Terrorism: The relevance of the rational choice model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 91-107, July.
    4. William Shughart, 2006. "An analytical history of terrorism, 1945–2000," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 7-39, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Brzoska & Raphael Bossong & Eric van Um, 2011. "Security Economics in the European Context: Implications of the EUSECON Project," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 58, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    2. Eric van Um & Daniela Pisoiu, 2011. "Effective Counterterrorism: What Have We Learned so Far?," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 55, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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