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How to Fight Terrorism: Alternatives to Deterrence


  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Simon Luechinger


Deterrence has been a crucial element in fighting terrorism, both in actual politics and rational choice analyses of terrorism. But there are superior strategies to deterrence. One is to make terrorist attacks less attractive. Another to raise the opportunity cost � rather than the material cost � to terrorists. These alternative strategies effectively dissuade potential terrorists. The strategies suggested here build on the �benevolence� system and tend to produce a positive sum game among the interacting parties. In contrast, the deterrence system is based on �threats� and tends to produce a negative sum game interaction.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno S. Frey & Simon Luechinger, "undated". "How to Fight Terrorism: Alternatives to Deterrence," IEW - Working Papers 137, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  • Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:137

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Klaus Reiner Schenk-Hopp�, "undated". "Random Dynamical Systems in Economics," IEW - Working Papers 067, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    2. Blume, Lawrence & Easley, David, 1992. "Evolution and market behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 9-40, October.
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    More about this item


    Terrorism; Deterrence; Decentralisation; Opportunity Cost; Rational Choice; Motivation;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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