Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism

40 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2009 Last revised: 25 Feb 2010

Efraim Benmelech

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Claude Berrebi

RAND Corporation; Hebrew University - The Federmann School of Public Policy and Government; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; Princeton University - Department of Economics; RAND Corporation - Labor and Population Studies

Esteban F. Klor

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

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 1, 2010

Abstract

We analyze the link between economic conditions and the quality of suicide terrorism. While the existing empirical literature shows that poverty and economic conditions are not correlated with the quantity of terror, theory predicts that poverty and poor economic conditions may affect the quality of terror. Poor economic conditions may lead more able, better-educated individuals to participate in terror attacks, allowing terror organizations to send better-qualified terrorists to more complex, higher-impact, terror missions. Using the universe of Palestinian suicide terrorists against Israeli targets between the years 2000 and 2006 we provide evidence on the correlation between economic conditions, the characteristics of suicide terrorists and the targets they attack. High levels of unemployment enable terror organizations to recruit more educated, mature and experienced suicide terrorists who in turn attack more important Israeli targets.

Keywords: Quantity and Quality of Terrorism, Economic Conditions, Suicide Terrorists

Suggested Citation

Benmelech, Efraim and Berrebi, Claude and Klor, Esteban F., Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism (February 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1367828 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1367828

Efraim Benmelech (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

Evanston, IL 60208
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Claude Berrebi

RAND Corporation ( email )

Santa Monica, CA
310-393-0411 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rand.org/about/people/b/berrebi_claude.html

Hebrew University - The Federmann School of Public Policy and Government

Hebrew University
Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ucla.edu/people/Faculty/Berrebi.html

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Industrial Relations Section
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States
609-258-4777 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~cberrebi

RAND Corporation - Labor and Population Studies ( email )

1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA
United States
310-393-0411 (Phone)

Esteban F. Klor

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
+972 2 588 3143 (Phone)
+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

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

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

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