Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism? Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate

51 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2007 Last revised: 1 Jun 2008

See all articles by Claude Berrebi

Claude Berrebi

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - School of Public Policy; Hebrew University - School of Public Policy ; Princeton University; UCLA; RAND Corporation; Taub Center

Esteban F. Klor

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2008

Abstract

This paper relies on the variation of terror attacks across time and space as an instrument to identify the causal effects of terrorism on the preferences of the Israeli electorate. We find that the occurrence of a terror attack within three months of the elections is associated with a 1.35 percentage points increase on the local support for the right bloc of political parties out of the two blocs vote. This effect is of a significant political magnitude given the level of terrorism in Israel and the fact that its electorate is closely split between the right and left blocs. Moreover, a terror fatality has important electoral effects beyond the locality where the attack is perpetrated, and their electoral impact is stronger the closer to the elections they occur. Interestingly, the observed political effects are not affected by the identity of the party holding office. These results provide empirical support for the hypothesis that the electorate shows a highly sensitive reaction to terrorism, and substantiate the claim that terror organizations especially target democratic regimes because these regimes are more prone to make territorial concessions.

Keywords: terrorism

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Berrebi, Claude and Klor, Esteban F., Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism? Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate (April 2008). RAND Working Paper No. WR-477-1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1003908 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1003908

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Esteban F. Klor

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://economics.huji.ac.il/facultye/klor/klor.htm

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