Does Freedom of Expression Cause Less Terrorism?

30 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2020

See all articles by Lasse Eskildsen

Lasse Eskildsen

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Christian Bjørnskov

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Center for Political Studies; Institute for Corruption Studies

Date Written: February 20, 2020

Abstract

It is often assumed that there is a trade-off between civil rights and national safety although the association is theoretically ambiguous. This paper therefore explores this association by estimating the effect of degrees of freedom of expression on the risk of terrorist attacks. We first note that different theoretical arguments support both a positive and negative association between freedom of expression and terrorism. We explore this association empirically in a large panel of 162 countries observed between 1970 and 2016. Distinguishing between media freedom and discussion freedom, and separating democracies and autocracies, we find that discussion freedom is unambiguously associated with less terrorism in democracies.

Keywords: Freedom of expression, terrorism, political economy

Suggested Citation

Eskildsen, Lasse and Bjørnskov, Christian, Does Freedom of Expression Cause Less Terrorism? (February 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3541875 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3541875

Lasse Eskildsen

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Christian Bjørnskov (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, DK-8210
Denmark

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Center for Political Studies

Landgreven 3
Copenhagen K, DK-1301
Denmark

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

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