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Characteristics of Terrorism

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Abstract

Individual terrorist are frequently behaving seemingly absurd, e.g. by carrying out suicide operations, while activities of the terrorist organisations as a whole often seem to be conducted in a very effective way. These facts caused many researchers to regard the leaders representing the organisations like rational entities, while the followers are supposed to be just obeying and, hence, to be irrational. In this paper we offer a different approach which postulates rationality of all involved agents. We demonstrate how these agents’ behaviour could be modelled, while taking into account options of the terrorist leaders to influence their followers. From our model approaches to counter terrorism on both the leadership as well as the follower level can be derived.

Suggested Citation

  • Karen Pittel & Dirk Rübbelke, 2009. "Characteristics of Terrorism," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 09/103, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:09-103
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    File URL: https://www.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/mtec/cer-eth/cer-eth-dam/documents/working-papers/wp_09_103.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karen Pittel & Dirk T.G. Rübbelke, 2009. "Decision Processes of a Suicide Bomber – Integrating Economics and Psychology," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 09/106, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    2. Peter Hilsenrath, 2005. "Health Policy As Counter-Terrorism: Health Services And The Palestinians," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(5), pages 365-374.
    3. Kotchen, Matthew J., 2005. "Impure public goods and the comparative statics of environmentally friendly consumption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 281-300, March.
    4. Dubin, Jeffrey A & Navarro, Peter, 1988. "How Markets for Impure Public Goods Organize: The Case of Household Refuse Collection," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 217-241, Fall.
    5. Karen Pittel & Dirk Rubbelke, 2006. "What Directs a Terrorist?," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 311-328.
    6. Nuno Garoupa & Jonathan Klick & Francesco Parisi, 2006. "A law and economics perspective on terrorism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 147-168, July.
    7. Kopczuk Wojciech & Slemrod Joel, 2005. "Denial of Death and Economic Behavior," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-26, August.
    8. Grace Sanico & Makoto Kakinaka, 2008. "Terrorism And Deterrence Policy With Transnational Support," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 153-167.
    9. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
    10. William T. Dickens, 1986. "Crime and Punishment Again: The Economic Approach with a Psychological Twist," NBER Working Papers 1884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. James C. Murdoch & Todd Sandler, 1982. "A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of NATO," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 26(2), pages 237-263, June.
    12. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132-132.
    13. repec:cup:apsrev:v:77:y:1983:i:01:p:36-54_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Richard Kirk, 1983. "Political terrorism and the size of government: A positive institutional analysis of violent political activity," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 41-52, January.
    15. Dickens, William T., 1986. "Crime and punishment again: The economic approach with a psychological twist," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 97-107, June.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. How to fight terrorism and suicide bombers in particular
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-03-12 00:01:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Balistreri, Edward J. & Hillberry, Russell H. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2010. "Trade and welfare: Does industrial organization matter?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(2), pages 85-87, November.
    2. Gulzar Ali & Zhaohua Li, 2016. "Role of economic factors in terrorism in Pakistan," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 50(5), pages 2237-2250, September.
    3. Eric van Um, 2009. "Discussing Concepts of Terrorist Rationality: Implications for Counter-Terrorism Policy," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 22, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cognitive dissonance; joint production; Lancastrian characteristics approach; public goods; rationality; suicide attacks; terrorism;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other

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