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Al Qaeda as a Tournament: Empirical Evidence

  • Caruso, Raul

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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File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/11693/1/MPRA_paper_11693.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 11693.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11693
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  1. Andreas Freytag & Jens J. Krüger & Daniel Meierrieks & Friedrich Schneider, 2009. "The Origins of Terrorism - Cross-Country Estimates on Socio-Economic Determinants of Terrorism," Jena Economic Research Papers 2009-009, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. Alberto Abadie, 2004. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," NBER Working Papers 10859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Morgan, John & Vardy, Felix, 2007. "The value of commitment in contests and tournaments when observation is costly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 326-338, August.
  4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-15, September.
  5. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Xianwen Shi, 2007. "Contests for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 338-363.
  6. 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..
  7. Moldovanu, Benny & Sela, Aner, 1999. "The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 99-75, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  8. O'Keeffe, Mary & Viscusi, W Kip & Zeckhauser, Richard J, 1984. "Economic Contests: Comparative Reward Schemes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 27-56, January.
  9. Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-98, December.
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