International Terrorism, Domestic Political Instability and The Escalation Effect
        with Martin Gassebner

        Forthcoming Economics & Politics

        What are the main causes of international terrorism? Despite the meticulous examination of various
        candidate explanations, existing estimates still diverge in sign, size, and significance. This paper puts
        forward a novel explanation and supporting evidence. We argue that domestic political instability provides
        the learning environment needed to successfully execute international terror attacks. Using a yearly panel
        of 123 countries over 1973-2003, we find that the occurrence of civil wars increases fatalities and the
        number of international terrorist acts by 45%. These results hold for alternative indicators of political
        instability, estimators, sub-samples, sub-periods and accounting for competing explanations.

        September 2012 version (fully revised, all new results):   PDF

         Download working paper version:       IZA DP          CEPR DP

         Latest literature:  Link 1 and Link 2

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