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Terrorism, Political Opinions, and Election Outcomes: Evidence from Europe


  • Peri, Giovanni

    (University of California, Davis)

  • Rees, Daniel I.

    (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

  • Smith, Brock

    (Montana State University)


There is surprisingly little evidence on how terror attacks impact elections. With only a few exceptions, previous studies in this literature have focused on a particular country or attack, limiting their generalizability. Ours is the first comprehensive, multi-country examination of the effects of terror attacks on political opinions and election outcomes. The results provide little evidence that terror attacks are systematically related to Europeans' attitudes towards immigrants and how much trust they have in government. International terror attacks are, however, associated with an increase in the vote share received by nationalistic parties in Europe. These results are relevant to the ongoing debate among academics over the effectiveness of terror attacks.

Suggested Citation

  • Peri, Giovanni & Rees, Daniel I. & Smith, Brock, 2020. "Terrorism, Political Opinions, and Election Outcomes: Evidence from Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 13090, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13090

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Mansour, Hani & Rees, Daniel I. & Reeves, James, 2020. "Voting and Political Participation in the Aftermath of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic," IZA Discussion Papers 13442, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Fernandez-Navia, Tania & Polo-Muro, Eduardo & Tercero-Lucas, David, 2021. "Too afraid to vote? The effects of COVID-19 on voting behaviour," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    3. Alessandro Belmonte, 2022. "Punishing or rallying ‘round the flag? Heterogeneous effects of terrorism in South Tyrol," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 75(4), pages 536-563, November.

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    More about this item


    terrorism; elections; nationalism; terror attack;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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