What Directs a Terrorist?

Chemnitz University of Technology Economics Working Paper No. WWDP 67/2005

23 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2005

See all articles by Karen Pittel

Karen Pittel

ETH Zürich - Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC)

Dirk T. G. Rübbelke

Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg

Date Written: July 2005

Abstract

Terrorist models often focus on one kind of agent as well as one motive to pursue terrorism. Our model diverges from such standard approaches by taking account of the reasoning of the terrorist-organization leader as well as of the reasoning of the individual terrorist. This allows us to observe the influence of the leader on the individual terrorist. Furthermore, we distinguish different motives which influence the individual agent's activities. More precisely, we consider terrorist support as an impure public good generating different characteristics. Moreover, we allow the leader to influence the individual terrorist's activities via different technologies and finally, we take account of the fact that individual terrorists may develop a strong feeling of belongingness to the organization.

In our framework, it is possible to explain why rational terrorists support terrorism and even commit suicide attacks. In line with empirical findings, income levels play no decisive factor in terrorists' readiness to commit such attacks.

Keywords: Impure public goods, terrorism

JEL Classification: D74, D69

Suggested Citation

Pittel, Karen and Rübbelke, Dirk T. G., What Directs a Terrorist? (July 2005). Chemnitz University of Technology Economics Working Paper No. WWDP 67/2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=752845 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.752845

Karen Pittel (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich - Department of Management, Technology, and Economics (D-MTEC) ( email )

ETH-Zentrum
ZUE F18
Zurich, CH-8092

Dirk T. G. Rübbelke

Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg ( email )

Freiberg, 09599
Germany

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