Al Qaeda as a Tournament: Empirical Evidence
This short paper aims to find an empirical evidence that al Qaeda behaves as a contest organizer rewarding an indivisible prize – namely, official membership and economic rewards – to candidate extremists groups. Would-be terrorists must then compete with each other to prove their commitment and ability. Hence to maximize their own probability of winning the prize, each group (maximizes its effort) tries to make attacks at least equally destructive as the foregoing attacks. The testable implication is that: the number of victims must depend upon the number of victims of past attacks. Resulting evidence confirms the hypothesis. At the same time, results show that al Qaeda-style terrorist activity depends also upon grievance for poverty and socio-economic conditions.
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