Terrorism: Deterrence May Backfire
Zurich IEER Working Paper No. 136
26 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2003
Date Written: August 2002
Present anti-terrorist policy concentrates almost exclusively on deterrence. It seeks to fend off terrorism by raising the cost of undertaking terrorist acts. This paper argues that deterrence policy is less effective than generally thought and induces in some cases even more terrorism. This is, in particular, the case if deterrence policy induces a centralisation of decision-making in the polity and economy. Therefore, an effective anti-terrorist policy should focus more on reducing the expected benefits of terrorist acts to prospective terrorists. Such a policy is based on strengthening rather than weakening decentralised decision-making.
Keywords: Terrorism, Deterrence, Decentralization, Democracy, Federalism, Market Economy, Rational Choice, Motivation
JEL Classification: D74, F00, H56, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation