Education, Poverty, Political Violence and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?

47 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2002 Last revised: 12 Aug 2004

See all articles by Alan B. Krueger

Alan B. Krueger

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jitka Maleckova

Institute for Near Eastern and African Studies (INEAS)

Date Written: July 2002

Abstract

The paper investigates whether there is a causal link between poverty or low education and participation in politically motivated violence and terrorist activities. After presenting a discussion of theoretical issues, we review evidence on the determinants of hate crimes. This literature finds that the occurrence of hate crimes is largely independent of economic conditions. Next we analyze data on support for attacks against Israeli targets from public opinion polls conducted in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These polls indicate that support for violent attacks does not decrease among those with higher education and higher living standards. The core contribution of the paper is a statistical analysis of the determinants of participation in Hezbollah militant activities in Lebanon. The evidence we have assembled suggests that having a living standard above the poverty line or a secondary school or higher education is positively associated with participation in Hezbollah. We also find that Israeli Jewish settlers who attacked Palestinians in the West Bank in the early 1980s were overwhelmingly from high-paying occupations. The conclusion speculates on why economic conditions and education are largely unrelated to participation in, and support for, terrorism.

Suggested Citation

Krueger, Alan B. and Maleckova, Jitka, Education, Poverty, Political Violence and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection? (July 2002). NBER Working Paper No. w9074. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=319750

Alan B. Krueger (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4046 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Jitka Maleckova

Institute for Near Eastern and African Studies (INEAS) ( email )

Celetna 20
100 00 Praha 1
Czech Republic

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
369
Abstract Views
6,885
rank
79,970
PlumX Metrics