Four dot points to end the chapter

  • • If we were to use an econometric model to forecast the number of terrorist attacks to be expected next year, we would be making a point prediction.
  • • If we use theory, logic and argument to say that under certain conditions such and such behaviour is expected, we would be making a pattern prediction.
  • • Analytical tools that draw on economics and psychology can explain such observed behaviours as pauses in violence after success, risk taking in the presence of a rival’s success and substitution away from certain activities if the incentives change.
  • • The main idea is ‘ideas’. Ideas, conveyed as simply as possible but without understating their depth, placed in the right hands. Thinking about terrorist behaviour is an important part of counter-terrorism. Ideas from economics and psychology provide us with more things to think about.


  • 1 Hayek (1467, pp.24—25). Friedrich von Hayek was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in 1474.
  • 2 Kaczynski did not perpetrate an attack for three years from 1482 to 1485 and for six years between 1487 and 1443.
  • 3 Discussed in more detail in Chapter 5.
  • 4 Despite outside appearances, the meaning of‘economic man’ has never been completely settled in economic theory. See Caldwell (1482,p.l62).
  • 5 This is discussed in more detail in Chapter 3.
  • 6 It depends, of course, on the nature of the terrorist groups. We discuss this in more detail in Chapter 4.
  • 7 Individual papers can be found that date back some way, such as LaFree and Dugan (2004) and Rausch and LaFree (2007) but the more visible shifts are evidenced by the growing amount of terrorism research published in criminology journals and the growing amount of criminology-type papers published in terrorism studies journals. Prominent terrorism studies journals such as Terrorism and Political Violence (see Freilich Sc LaFree 2015) have published special issues on the topic of criminology and terrorism while prominent criminology journals such as the Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice (see Braddock 2017) have published special issues on terrorism.
  • 8 For example, Phillips and Pohl (2014) and Azam and Ferrero (2017) draw strong parallels between school shooters and terrorists in developing an economic analysis of terrorism.

This parallel has been drawn by several criminologists and terrorism researchers including Lankford (2013), Bockler et al. (2018) and Liem et al. (2018).

0 There is a large literature devoted solely to the problem of defining terrorism. Examples that are characteristic of contributions to this literature are Weinberg et al. (2004), Herschinger (2013) and Ramsay (2015). Schmid and Jongman (1088) ‘synthesised’ 109 definitions of terrorism!

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