Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism? Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate

45 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2007 Last revised: 26 Oct 2007

See all articles by Claude Berrebi

Claude Berrebi

RAND Corporation; Hebrew University - The Federmann School of Public Policy and Government; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; Princeton University - Department of Economics; RAND Corporation - Labor and Population Studies

Esteban F. Klor

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2007

Abstract

This paper relies on the variation of terror attacks across time and space as an instrument to identify the causal effects of terrorism on the preferences of the Israeli electorate. We find that the occurrence of a terror attack within three months of the elections is associated with a 1.35 percentage points increase on the local support for the right bloc of political parties out of the two blocs vote. This effect is of a significant political magnitude given the level of terrorism in Israel and the fact that its electorate is closely split between the right and left blocs. Moreover, a terror fatality has important electoral effects beyond the locality where the attack is perpetrated, and its electoral impact is stronger the closer to the elections it occurs. Interestingly, in left-leaning localities, local terror fatalities cause an increase in the support for the right bloc whereas total terror fatalities increase the support for the left bloc of parties. Given that only a small number of localities suffer terror attacks we obtain that terrorism causes the ideological polarization of the electorate. These results provide strong empirical support for the hypothesis that the electorate shows a highly sensitive reaction to terrorism.

Keywords: Terrorism, Democracy, Voters' Preferences

JEL Classification: D7, N4

Suggested Citation

Berrebi, Claude and Klor, Esteban F., Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism? Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate (October 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=963965 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.963965

Claude Berrebi

RAND Corporation ( email )

Santa Monica, CA
310-393-0411 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.rand.org/about/people/b/berrebi_claude.html

Hebrew University - The Federmann School of Public Policy and Government

Hebrew University
Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ucla.edu/people/Faculty/Berrebi.html

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~cberrebi

RAND Corporation - Labor and Population Studies ( email )

1776 Main Street
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United States
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Esteban F. Klor (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, 91905
Israel
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+972 2 581 6071 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://economics.huji.ac.il/facultye/klor/klor.htm

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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