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International Terrorism, Political Instability and the Escalation Effect


  • Campos, Nauro F

    () (Brunel University)

  • Gassebner, Martin

    () (ETH Zurich)


What are the main causes of international terrorism? The lessons from the surge of academic research that followed 9/11 remain elusive. The careful investigation of the relative roles of economic and political conditions did little to change the fact that existing econometric estimates diverge in size, sign and significance. In this paper we present a new rationale (the escalation effect) stressing domestic political instability as the main reason for international terrorism. Econometric evidence from a panel of more than 130 countries (yearly from 1968 to 2003) shows this to be a much more promising avenue for future research than the available alternatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Campos, Nauro F & Gassebner, Martin, 2009. "International Terrorism, Political Instability and the Escalation Effect," IZA Discussion Papers 4061, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4061

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bruno S. Frey & Simon Luechinger & Alois Stutzer, 2007. "Calculating Tragedy: Assessing The Costs Of Terrorism," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(1), pages 1-24, February.
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    14. Dreher, Axel & Gassebner, Martin, 2008. "Does political proximity to the U.S. cause terror?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 27-29, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Martin Gassebner & Simon Luechinger, 2011. "Lock, stock, and barrel: a comprehensive assessment of the determinants of terror," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 235-261, December.
    2. Friedrich Schneider & Tilman Brück & Daniel Meierrieks, 2010. "The Economics of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: A Survey (Part I)," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1049, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Kis-Katos, Krisztina & Liebert, Helge & Schulze, Günther G., 2014. "On the heterogeneity of terror," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 116-136.
    4. Azam, Jean-Paul & Thelen, Véronique, 2014. "Did the Aid Boom Pacify Sub-Saharan Africa?: Ex-Post Evaluation Using a Near-Identification Approach," TSE Working Papers 14-544, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised May 2017.
    5. Kis-Katos, Krisztina & Liebert, Helge & Schulze, Günther G., 2011. "On the origin of domestic and international terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(S1), pages 17-36.
    6. Axel Dreher & Andreas Fuchs, 2011. "Does terror increase aid?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(3), pages 337-363, December.
    7. Malik, Zahra & Zaman, Khalid, 2013. "Macroeconomic consequences of terrorism in Pakistan," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 1103-1123.
    8. Azam, Jean-Paul & Thelen, Véronique, 2012. "Where to Spend Foreign Aid to Counter Terrorism," TSE Working Papers 12-316, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

    More about this item


    political instability; terrorism; escalation; international terrorism;

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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