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Immigration, integration and terrorism: is there a clash of cultures?



We test whether immigrants are more prone to support terror than natives because of lower opportunity costs, using the international World Values Survey data. We show that, in general, economically, politically and socially non-integrated persons are more likely to accept using violence for achieving political goals, consistent with the economic model of crime. We also find evidence for the destructive effects of a ‘clash of cultures’: Immigrants in OECD countries who originate from more culturally distanced countries in Africa and Asia appear more likely to view using violence for political goals as justified. Most importantly, we find no evidence that the clashof-cultures effect is driven by Islam religion, which appears irrelevant to terror support. As robustness test we relate individual attitude to real-life behavior: using country panels of transnational terrorist attacks in OECD countries, we show that the population attitudes towards violence and terror determine the occurrence of terror incidents, as does the share of immigrants in the population. A further analysis shows a positive association of immigrants from Africa and Asia with transnational terror, while the majority religion Islam of the sending country does not appear to play a role. Again, we find that culture defined by geographic proximity dominates culture defined by religion.

Suggested Citation

  • Justina AV Fischer, 2011. "Immigration, integration and terrorism: is there a clash of cultures?," CEIS Research Paper 182, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 20 Jan 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:rtv:ceisrp:182

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2016. "Long-Term Persistence," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 14(6), pages 1401-1436, December.
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    6. Axel Dreher & Justina A. V. Fischer, 2010. "Government Decentralization As A Disincentive For Transnational Terror? An Empirical Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 981-1002, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bandyopadhyay, Subhayu & Sandler, Todd, 2014. "Immigration policy and counterterrorism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 112-123.
    2. Zimmermann, Ekkart, 2011. "Globalization and terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(S1), pages 152-161.

    More about this item


    terror; terrorism; violence; conflict; immigration; culture; integration; crime;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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