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Jihad against Palestinians?: The Herostratos syndrome and the paradox of targeting European Jews

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  • Azam, Jean-Paul
  • Ferrero, Mario

Abstract

This paper addresses the waves of mass killings recently perpetrated by individuals with a weak or nonexistent ideological motivation, whose acts either appear to contradict their purported political cause or are admittedly driven by a quest for notoriety. Examples range from killers who have been waging jihad against European Jews to unattached mass killers such as the Germanwings pilot to the perpetrators of mass school shootings in America and worldwide. We argue that these phenomena can be understood as instances of the Herostratos syndrome, which has been known for thousands of years as characterizing the behavior of people who seek to survive in the collective memory by excelling in their infamous acts. We provide a model of hybrid killers which accommodates the Herostratic motive alongside a political motive and characterize a well-behaved Nash equilibrium where Herostratic killers are competing with one another with a view to make a name for themselves in infamy. The policy implications point toward reducing the publicity the killers enjoy, thus frustrating their quest for notoriety.

Suggested Citation

  • Azam, Jean-Paul & Ferrero, Mario, 2017. "Jihad against Palestinians?: The Herostratos syndrome and the paradox of targeting European Jews," TSE Working Papers 17-874, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:32299
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    File URL: https://www.tse-fr.eu/sites/default/files/TSE/documents/doc/wp/2017/wp_tse_874.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Apolte, Thomas, 2017. "I hope I die before I get old: The supply side of the market for suicide bombers," CIW Discussion Papers 1/2017, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).
    2. Mario Ferrero, 2013. "The Cult of Martyrs," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 57(5), pages 881-904, October.
    3. Ronald Wintrobe, 2006. "Extremism, Suicide Terror, and Authoritarism," ICER Working Papers 8-2006, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
    4. Jean-Paul Azam, 2012. "Why suicide-terrorists get educated, and what to do about it," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 357-373, December.
    5. Ronald Wintrobe, 2006. "Extremism, suicide terror, and authoritarianism," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 128(1), pages 169-195, July.
    6. Mario Ferrero, 2006. "Martyrdom Contracts," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 50(6), pages 855-877, December.
    7. Peter J. Phillips & Gabriela Pohl, 2014. "Prospect theory and terrorist choice," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 17, pages 139-160, May.
    8. Jean-Paul Azam, 2005. "Suicide-bombing as inter-generational investment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 177-198, January.
    9. Azam Jean-Paul & Ferrero Mario, 2016. "Killing for the Sake of Infamy: The Herostratos Syndrome and what to Do about it," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 22(4), pages 357-364, December.
    10. Phillips Peter J, 2011. "Lone Wolf Terrorism," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 17(1), pages 1-31, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Apolte, Thomas, 2017. "I hope I die before I get old: The supply side of the market for suicide bombers," CIW Discussion Papers 1/2017, University of Münster, Center for Interdisciplinary Economics (CIW).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    terrorism; Herostratos; cult; competition for infamy; jihad; school shootings;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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