International Terrorism, Domestic Political Instability, and the Escalation Effect

21 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2013

See all articles by Martin Gassebner

Martin Gassebner

ETH Zurich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: March 2013

Abstract

What are the main causes of international terrorism? Despite the meticulous examination of various candidate explanations, existing estimates still diverge in sign, size, and significance. This article puts forward a novel explanation and supporting evidence. We argue that domestic political instability provides the learning environment needed to successfully execute international terror attacks. Using a yearly panel of 123 countries over 1973–2003, we find that the occurrence of civil wars increases fatalities and the number of international terrorist acts by 45%. These results hold for alternative indicators of political instability, estimators, subsamples, subperiods, and accounting for competing explanations.

Suggested Citation

Gassebner, Martin, International Terrorism, Domestic Political Instability, and the Escalation Effect (March 2013). Economics & Politics, Vol. 25, Issue 1, pp. 27-47, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2213140 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecpo.12002

Martin Gassebner (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute ( email )

Weinbergstrasse 35
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.kof.ethz.ch/chair/

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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