Freedom and the Taste for Terrorism

Imperial College London Working Paper No. TBS DP04-26

39 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2005

See all articles by Robert MacCulloch

Robert MacCulloch

Imperial College London - Tanaka Business School

Silvia Pezzini

Hong Kong Monetary Authority

Date Written: March 2005

Abstract

Property rights, whose security is often threatened by terrorism and civil conflict, are a necessary condition for the establishment of a market economy. Yet a fundamental and unresolved empirical question is whether the lack of political and civil freedoms is one of the root causes of greater insecurity. This paper takes a new approach to provide an answer by using micro-data on 106,170 people in 61 nations from 1981 to 1997. Controlling for country effects, year effects and endogeneity, the level of freedom has strong and robust negative effects on revolutionary support. A one standard deviation rise in freedom, equivalent to a shift from Argentina to the US, decreases support by 3 percentage points, or 38% of the standard deviation of the proportion of people who want a revolution. Higher GDP growth rates can buy off part of the increase in support when freedoms are constrained. There is also evidence that being religious reduces revolutionary tastes although the size of the effect varies with the extent of freedom and disappears entirely in non-free nations.

Keywords: Revolt, property rights, freedom, growth, religion

JEL Classification: D74, H11, O1, O4, Z12

Suggested Citation

MacCulloch, Robert and Pezzini, Silvia, Freedom and the Taste for Terrorism (March 2005). Imperial College London Working Paper No. TBS DP04-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=754985 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.754985

Robert MacCulloch (Contact Author)

Imperial College London - Tanaka Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Silvia Pezzini

Hong Kong Monetary Authority ( email )

3 Garden Road, 30th Floor
Hong Kong
Hong Kong

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