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Al Qaeda as a Tournament: Empirical Evidence

Author

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  • Caruso, Raul

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Caruso, Raul, 2008. "Al Qaeda as a Tournament: Empirical Evidence," MPRA Paper 11693, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11693
    as

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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/11693/1/MPRA_paper_11693.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela, 2001. "The Optimal Allocation of Prizes in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 542-558, June.
    2. Alberto Abadie, 2006. "Poverty, Political Freedom, and the Roots of Terrorism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 50-56, May.
    3. Benny Moldovanu & Aner Sela & Xianwen Shi, 2007. "Contests for Status," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 338-363.
    4. Rosen, Sherwin, 1986. "Prizes and Incentives in Elimination Tournaments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 701-715, September.
    5. Freytag, Andreas & Krüger, Jens J. & Meierrieks, Daniel & Schneider, Friedrich, 2011. "The origins of terrorism: Cross-country estimates of socio-economic determinants of terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, pages 5-16.
    6. Morgan, John & Vardy, Felix, 2007. "The value of commitment in contests and tournaments when observation is costly," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 326-338.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Dixit, Avinash K, 1987. "Strategic Behavior in Contests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 891-898, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Terrorism; al Qaeda; Contest Theory; Tournament; Information;

    JEL classification:

    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General

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