Hard Targets: Theory and Evidence on Suicide Attacks
Who chooses suicide attacks? Though rebels typically target poor countries, suicide attacks are just as likely to target rich democracies. Though many groups have grievances, suicide attacks are favored by the radical religious. Though rebels often kill coreligionists, they seldom use suicide attacks to do so. We model the choice of tactics by rebels, bearing in mind that a successful suicide attack imposes the ultimate cost on the attacker and the organization. We first ask what a suicide attacker would have to believe to be deemed rational. We then embed the attacker and other operatives in a club good model which emphasizes the function of voluntary religious organizations as providers of benign local public goods. The sacrifices which these groups demand solve a free-rider problem in the cooperative production of public goods. These sacrifices make clubs well suited for organizing suicide attacks, a tactic in which defection by operatives (including the attacker) endangers the entire organization. The model also analyzes the choice of suicide attacks as a tactic, predicting that suicide will be used when targets are well protected and when damage is great. Those predictions are consistent with the patterns described above. The model has testable implications for tactic choice of terrorists and for damage achieved by different types of terrorists, which we find to be consistent with the data.
|Date of creation:||Nov 2005|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:01:p:75-90_00 is not listed on IDEAS
- Eli Berman, 2000.
"Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 905-953.
- Eli Berman, 1998. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," NBER Working Papers 6715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- repec:pri:indrel:dsp01bk1289895 is not listed on IDEAS
- Hamermesh, Daniel S & Soss, Neal M, 1974. "An Economic Theory of Suicide," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 83-98, Jan.-Feb..
- Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
- Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2002. "Education, Poverty, Political Violence and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," NBER Working Papers 9074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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.
- Claude Berrebi, 2003. "Evidence About the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism Among Palestinians," Working Papers 856, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11740. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.