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Education, Poverty, Political Violence and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?

Author

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  • Alan B. Krueger
  • Jitka Maleckova

Abstract

The paper investigates whether there is a causal link between poverty or low education and participation in politically motivated violence and terrorist activities. After presenting a discussion of theoretical issues, we review evidence on the determinants of hate crimes. This literature finds that the occurrence of hate crimes is largely independent of economic conditions. Next we analyze data on support for attacks against Israeli targets from public opinion polls conducted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These polls indicate that support for violent attacks does not decrease among those with higher education and higher living standards. The core contribution of the paper is a statistical analysis of the determinants of participation in Hezbollah militant activities in Lebanon. The evidence we have assembled suggests that having a living standard above the poverty line or a secondary school or higher education is positively associated with participation in Hezbollah. We also find that Israeli Jewish settlers who attacked Palestinians in the West Bank in the early 1980s were overwhelmingly from high-paying occupations. The conclusion speculates on why economic conditions and education are largely unrelated to participation in, and support for, terrorism.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9074
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan B. Krueger & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "A Statistical Analysis of Crime against Foreigners in Unified Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 32(1), pages 182-209.
    2. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    3. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do about It?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 25-42, Winter.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:77:y:1983:i:01:p:36-54_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Manski, Charles F & Lerman, Steven R, 1977. "The Estimation of Choice Probabilities from Choice Based Samples," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(8), pages 1977-1988, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua D. Angrist & Adriana D. Kugler, 2008. "Rural Windfall or a New Resource Curse? Coca, Income, and Civil Conflict in Colombia," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 191-215, May.
    2. Konstantinos Drakos & Andreas Gofas, 2006. "In Search Of The Average Transnational Terrorist Attack Venue," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 73-93.
    3. Denis Larocque & Genevieve Lincourt & Michel Normandin, 2010. "Macroeconomic Effects Of Terrorist Shocks In Israel," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(4), pages 317-336.
    4. Sehar SALEEM & Saima SARWAR, 2015. "DRIVERS OF TERRORISM IN PAKISTAN:An Evidence through Institutional Prism," Pakistan Journal of Applied Economics, Applied Economics Research Centre, vol. 25(2), pages 193-211.
    5. Hajj, Mandana & Panizza, Ugo, 2009. "Religion and education gender gap: Are Muslims different?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 337-344, June.
    6. Matthew A. Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Media, Education and Anti-Americanism in the Muslim World," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 117-133, Summer.
    7. Tavares, Jose, 2004. "The open society assesses its enemies: shocks, disasters and terrorist attacks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1039-1070, July.
    8. Eli Berman & David Laitin, 2005. "Hard Targets: Theory and Evidence on Suicide Attacks," NBER Working Papers 11740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Jain, Sanjay & Mukand, Sharun W., 2004. "The economics of high-visibility terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 479-494, June.
    10. Blomberg, S. Brock & Hess, Gregory D. & Orphanides, Athanasios, 2004. "The macroeconomic consequences of terrorism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(5), pages 1007-1032, July.
    11. Sacit Hadi Akdede & Ayla Oğus, 2009. "Death As A Measure Of Duration Of Conflict," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(6), pages 465-476.
    12. José García-Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2018. "Earthquakes and Terrorism: The Long Lasting Effect of Seismic Shocks," Working Papers 1020, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    13. Bruno S. Frey, 2008. "Terrorism and business," Global Business and Economics Review, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 10(2), pages 172-183.
    14. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2018. "Earthquakes and terrorism: the long lasting effect of seismic shocks," Economics Working Papers 1599, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    15. Eli Berman, 2003. "Hamas, Taliban and the Jewish Underground: An Economist's View of Radical Religious Militias," NBER Working Papers 10004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Thierry Deffarges, 2003. "Sur la nature et les causes du terrorisme. Une revue de la littérature économique," Revue Tiers Monde, Programme National Persée, vol. 44(174), pages 369-392.
    17. Nisreen Salti & Jad Chaaban, 2012. "The political economy of attracting public funds: the case of Lebanon," International Journal of Development and Conflict, Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, vol. 2(1), pages 1250001-125.
    18. Carlos Lapuerta & Juan Benavides & Sonia Jorge, 2003. "Regulation and Competition in Mobile Telephony in Latin America," Research Department Publications 1001, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.

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    JEL classification:

    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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