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Immigration, Integration and Terrorism: Is There a Clash of Cultures?

Justina A. V. Fischer

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD); Stockholm School of Economics; University of Hohenheim

December 20, 2010

CEIS Working Paper No. 182

We test whether immigrants are more prone to support terror than natives because of lower opportunity costs, using the international World Values Survey data. We show that, in general, economically, politically and socially non-integrated persons are more likely to accept using violence for achieving political goals, consistent with the economic model of crime. We also find evidence for the destructive effects of a ‘clash of cultures’: Immigrants in OECD countries who originate from more culturally distanced countries in Africa and Asia appear more likely to view using violence for political goals as justified. Most importantly, we find no evidence that the clash-of-cultures effect is driven by Islam religion, which appears irrelevant to terror support. As robustness test we relate individual attitude to real-life behavior: using country panels of transnational terrorist attacks in OECD countries, we show that the population attitudes towards violence and terror determine the occurrence of terror incidents, as does the share of immigrants in the population. A further analysis shows a positive association of immigrants from Africa and Asia with transnational terror, while the majority religion Islam of the sending country does not appear to play a role. Again, we find that culture defined by geographic proximity dominates culture defined by religion.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 70

Keywords: Terror, Terrorism, Violence, Conflict, Immigration, Culture, Integration, Crime

JEL Classification: K42, H56, O15, D74, Z1

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Date posted: January 21, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Fischer, Justina A. V., Immigration, Integration and Terrorism: Is There a Clash of Cultures? (December 20, 2010). CEIS Working Paper No. 182. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1744222 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1744222

Contact Information

Justina A.V. Fischer (Contact Author)
Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) ( email )
2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
Stockholm School of Economics
PO Box 6501
Stockholm, 11383
University of Hohenheim
Fruwirthstr. 48
Stuttgart, 70599
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