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Understanding the Development of Fundamentalism

  • Ira N. Gang

    ()

    (Rutgers University)

  • Gil S. Epstein

    ()

    (Bar Ilan University)

Fundamentalist organizations and the terrorists they spawn do not arise of a vacuum. Combating terrorism requires understanding the principles of groups’ formation, development and growth. We use economic theory to explain the creation and development of fundamentalist groups. In this paper we develop a theory of fundamentalism and terrorism under which leaders compete to enhance the level of observance of their followers. Our model explains the existence of competing fundamentalist groups and the increase in their intensity over time. Competition among fundamentalists makes them more extreme and may lead to terrorist activity.

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Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 200222.

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Date of creation: 30 Aug 2002
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Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200222
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  1. Dwight Lee & Todd Sandler, 1989. "On the optimal retaliation against terrorists: The paid-rider option," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(2), pages 141-152, May.
  2. Epstein, Gil S. & Gang, Ira N., 2002. "Government and Cities: Contests and the Decentralization of Decision Making," IZA Discussion Papers 547, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1987. "Politically Contestable Rents and Transfers," UCLA Economics Working Papers 452, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Sandler, Todd & Enders, Walter, 2004. "An economic perspective on transnational terrorism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-316, June.
  5. Laurence R. Iannaccone, 1997. "Toward an Economic Theory of "Fundamentalism"," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(1), pages 100-, March.
  6. Lapan, Harvey E. & Sandler, Todd, 1993. "Terrorism and signalling," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 383-397, August.
  7. Nitzan, Shmuel, 1994. "Modelling rent-seeking contests," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 41-60, May.
  8. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
  9. Daniel G. Arce M. & Todd Sandler, 2003. "An Evolutionary Game Approach to Fundamentalism and Conflict," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(1), pages 132-, March.
  10. Timur Kuran, 1989. "Sparks and prairie fires: A theory of unanticipated political revolution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 61(1), pages 41-74, April.
  11. Iannaccone, Laurence R, 1992. "Sacrifice and Stigma: Reducing Free-Riding in Cults, Communes, and Other Collectives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 271-91, April.
  12. Eli Berman, 1998. "Sect, Subsidy, and Sacrifice: An Economist's View of Ultra-Orthodox Jews," NBER Working Papers 6715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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