Terrorism Experiments

Journal of Peace Research, March 2011

32 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2013

See all articles by Daniel G. Arce

Daniel G. Arce

University of Texas at Dallas - Department of Economics & Finance

Rachel T. A. Croson

Michigan State University

Catherine C. Eckel

Texas A&M University

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

Experimental research has a long-established tradition in psychology and sociology, and a more recent but important history as a useful methodology in economics. In this paper we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of experiments as a method for studying terrorism and other national security topics. For example, given the paucity of data on counterterror policy decisions by governments; as well as that for planning, targeting and selecting methods of attack by terrorist organizers, the experimental approach can substitute for this lack of field data. Experiments can also identify policy counterfactuals that might otherwise be unobservable. Hence, we begin by discussing several theoretical themes in the analysis of terrorism: interdependent security games such as airline screening; the dual nature of preemptive versus deterrent counterterror policies and the implications of this duality for policy coordination among targeted nations; the resurgence of interest in Colonel Blotto games when properly adjusted to reflect the asymmetric conflict between target governments and terrorist groups; and the relationship between terrorist activity and extreme punishments (or vendettas). The small but emerging literature using experiments to examine these issues is reviewed, paying particular attention to how experimental results can inform theory and policy. Finally, we propose new directions for researchers to explore.

Keywords: conflict experiments, counterterrorism game, interdependent security, terrorism experiments

Suggested Citation

Arce, Daniel G. and Croson, Rachel T. A. and Eckel, Catherine C., Terrorism Experiments (2011). Journal of Peace Research, March 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2228971

Daniel G. Arce (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - Department of Economics & Finance ( email )

Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Rachel T. A. Croson

Michigan State University ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Catherine C. Eckel

Texas A&M University ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

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