Exports of Another Type: The Determinants of Interstate Transmission of Terrorism

Victor Asal

State University of New York at Albany

R. Karl Rethemeyer

SUNY University at Albany

August 22, 2011

While the majority of quantitative terrorism research has emerged since September 11th (Silke 2004), one area that has long been the subject of quantitative analysis is international or transnational terrorism (Silke 2004) (Plümper and Neumayer 2010) (Enders and Sandler 2006). While there has been a great deal of work examining where transnational terrorism is likely to happen (Krieger and Meierrieks 2011) and some work on why some countries are targeted and where terrorism is likely to originate, “ there has been very little work on the patterns of international terrorism of links between the terrorists’ home country and the victims’ country” (Plümper and Neumayer 2010, 75) with the notable exception of work by Plümper and Neumayer (2010). Plümper and Neumayer (2010) improve upon much of the existing work by using a dyadic design and find that attacking allies - particularly stronger allies that are more democratic helps to explain the export and import of terrorism between countries. This paper broadens and improves on the dyadic approach by using a stochastic approach - specifically an exponential random graph model (ERGM) - to model patterns of import and export of terrorism. ERGMs and other stochastic approaches to social network analysis are useful because they allows us to properly control for the dependencies inherent in the data. Standard statistical approaches assume independence between the observations, which obviously does not obtain in the context of network data. Our approach also allows us to search for structural regularities in the pattern of interconnections that may help to explain what is observed - for instance, a tendency for import/export patterns to be transitive in nature or to form core-periphery structures. Controlling for these tendencies more carefully allows us to better isolate other factors as drivers of import/export behavior. To conduct this study, we use data from the Global Terrorism Database (LaFree and Dugan 2007) for the years 1998-2006 as well as country-level co-variates from the Quality of Government database (Teorell, Holmberg, and Rothstein 2008) and data on dyadic relationships between states from the Correlates of War datasets. We argue that the factors that are most likely to trump others when it comes to the export and import of terrorism are contiguity militarized interstate disputes. In addition we explore the impact of the political situation and regime within a given country, the nature of religious and ethnic affiliations, economic and development factors, and experience with conflict and civil strife.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: terrorism, exporting terrorism, international terrorism, social network analysis

JEL Classification: D74

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Date posted: August 23, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Asal, Victor and Rethemeyer, R. Karl, Exports of Another Type: The Determinants of Interstate Transmission of Terrorism (August 22, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1914523 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1914523

Contact Information

Victor Asal (Contact Author)
State University of New York at Albany ( email )
135 Western Ave
Building, Room 109
Albany, NY 12222
United States
R. Karl Rethemeyer
SUNY University at Albany ( email )
1400 Washington Avenue
Building, Room 109
Albany, NY 12222
United States
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