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Why Suicide-Terrorists Get Educated, and What to Do About It


  • Azam, Jean-Paul


This paper tries to reconcile the observed fact that suicide-terrorists have a relatively high education level with rationality. It brings out the conditions under which potential students choose to acquire some education in a rational-choice model where this yields a non-zero probability of blowing up the resulting human capital in a terrorist attack. The comparative-statics of the rational expectations equilibrium of this model demonstrate how economic development, on the one hand, and repression, on the other hand, might reduce terrorism under some parameter restrictions.

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  • Azam, Jean-Paul, 2010. "Why Suicide-Terrorists Get Educated, and What to Do About It," IDEI Working Papers 627, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  • Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:24338

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean-Paul Azam & Véronique Thelen, 2008. "The roles of foreign aid and education in the war on terror," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 375-397, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Alberto Abadie, 2006. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 50-56, May.
    4. Ronald Wintrobe, 2006. "Extremism, Suicide Terror, and Authoritarism," ICER Working Papers 8-2006, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    5. 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.
    6. Pierre-Emmanuel Ly, 2007. "The charitable activities of terrorist organizations," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(1), pages 177-195, April.
    7. B. Peter Rosendorff & Todd Sandler, 2004. "Too Much of a Good Thing?," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 48(5), pages 657-671, October.
    8. Akerlof, George A, 1983. "Loyalty Filters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 54-63, March.
    9. Ronald Wintrobe, 2006. "Extremism, suicide terror, and authoritarianism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 169-195, July.
    10. Mario Ferrero, 2006. "Martyrdom Contracts," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 50(6), pages 855-877, December.
    11. Eli Berman & David Laitin, 2005. "Hard Targets: Theory and Evidence on Suicide Attacks," NBER Working Papers 11740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Jean-Paul Azam, 2005. "Suicide-bombing as inter-generational investment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 177-198, January.
    13. Bruno S. Frey, 2004. "Dealing with Terrorism – Stick or Carrot?," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3435.
    14. 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.
    15. Atin Basuchoudhary & William Shughart, 2010. "On Ethnic Conflict And The Origins Of Transnational Terrorism," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 65-87.
    16. Azam, Jean-Paul & Thelen, Véronique, 2009. "Foreign Aid vs. Military Intervention in the War on Terror," TSE Working Papers 09-061, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Paul Azam & Véronique Thelen, 2014. "The Geo-Politics of Foreign Aid and Transnational Terrorism," Revue d’économie du développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 22(HS01), pages 263-288.
    2. Azam, Jean-Paul & Ferrero, Mario, 2017. "Jihad against Palestinians? : The Herostratos syndrome and the paradox of targeting European Jews," TSE Working Papers 17-874, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    3. Malečková Jitka & Stanišić Dragana, 2013. "Does Higher Education Decrease Support for Terrorism?," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(3), pages 343-358, December.

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    Terrorism – Education – Development;

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