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Blood and Ink! The Common-Interest-GameBetween Terrorists and the Media

  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Dominik Rohner

It has often been pointed out in the literature that a symbiotic relationship exists between terrorist groups and the media. As yet, however, no formal model has been built based on this issue and only very little empirical research has been done in this field. The present contribution builds a simple game theoretic model, focussing on the social interactions between terrorists and the media. The model has features of a common-interest-game and results in multiple equilibria. After a discussion of the policy implications of the model, an empirical analysis is performed. Using newspaper coverage, terror incidents and terror fatalities data, it is shown that media attention and terrorism do mutually Granger cause each other, as predicted by the model. Moreover, it is explained why terror attacks tend to be “bloodier” in developing countries than in Europe and the United States.

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Paper provided by Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich in its series IEW - Working Papers with number 285.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Handle: RePEc:zur:iewwpx:285
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  1. Frankel, David M. & Morris, Stephen & Pauzner, Ady, 2003. "Equilibrium Selection in Global Games with Strategic Complementarities," Staff General Research Papers 11920, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Frey, Bruno S. & Luechinger, Simon, 2004. "Decentralization as a disincentive for terror," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 509-515, June.
  3. Matthew A. Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2004. "Media, Education, and anti-Americanism in the Muslim World," Microeconomics 0402005, EconWPA.
  4. John Scott, 2001. "Media congestion limits media terrorism," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 215-227.
  5. Carlsson, H. & Van Damme, E., 1990. "Global Games And Equilibrium Selection," Papers 9052, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  6. David P. Myatt & Hyun Song Shin & Chris Wallace, 2002. "The Assessment: Games and Coordination," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(4), pages 397-417.
  7. Jean-Paul Azam, 2005. "Suicide-bombing as inter-generational investment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 177-198, January.
  8. repec:ner:tilbur:urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-154416 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, August.
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