Counter-Suicide-Terrorism: Evidence from House Demolitions

48 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2012 Last revised: 13 Nov 2012

See all articles by Efraim Benmelech

Efraim Benmelech

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

Esteban F. Klor

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

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 13, 2012

Abstract

This paper examines whether house demolitions are an effective counterterrorism tactic against suicide terrorism. We link original longitudinal micro-level data on houses demolished by the Israeli Defense Forces with data on the universe of suicide attacks against Israeli targets. By exploiting spatial and time variation in house demolitions and suicide terror attacks during the second Palestinian uprising, we show that punitive house demolitions (those targeting Palestinian suicide terrorists and terror operatives) cause an immediate, significant decrease in the number of suicide attacks. The effect dissipates over time and by geographic distance. In contrast, we observe that Palestinian fatalities (regardless of whether or not they were killed in a targeted killing operation) do not have a consistent effect on suicide terror attacks, while curfews and precautionary house demolitions (demolitions justified by the location of the house but not related to the identity or any action of the house’s owner) cause a significant increase in the number of suicide terror attacks. The results are consistent with the view that selective violence is an effective tool to combat terrorist groups and may have contributed to bring an end to the Second Palestinian uprising. On the contrary, indiscriminate violence backfires.

Keywords: Counterterrorism, House Demolitions, Suicide Terrorists

JEL Classification: D74

Suggested Citation

Benmelech, Efraim and Klor, Esteban F. and Berrebi, Claude, Counter-Suicide-Terrorism: Evidence from House Demolitions (November 13, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2163578 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2163578

Efraim Benmelech

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

Esteban F. Klor (Contact Author)

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 )

London
United Kingdom

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)

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