Protecting Cultural Monuments Against Terrorism

Institute for Empirical Research in Economics Working Paper No. 257

12 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2005

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Dominic Rohner

University of Zurich

Date Written: November 22, 2005


Famous cultural monuments are often regarded as unique icons, making them an attractive target for terrorists. Despite huge military and police outlays, terrorist attacks on important monuments can hardly be avoided. We argue that an effective strategy for discouraging terrorist attacks on iconic monuments is for the government to show a firm commitment to swift reconstruction. Using a simple game-theoretic model, we demonstrate how a credible claim to rebuild any cultural monuments destroyed discourages terrorist attacks by altering the terrorists' expectations and by increasing the government's reputation costs if they fail to rebuild.

Keywords: Terrorism, Culture, Monuments, Counter-terrorism, Deterrence

JEL Classification: D74, H56, Z10

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Rohner, Dominic, Protecting Cultural Monuments Against Terrorism (November 22, 2005). IEW Working Paper No. 257. Available at SSRN: or

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002

Dominic Rohner

University of Zurich ( email )

Muehlebachstrasse 86
Zurich, 8008

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