Cover: Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Terrorism

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Terrorism

Do Natural Disasters Incite Terror?

Published in: Public Choice, v. 149, nos. 3-4, Special Issue, Dec. 2011, p. 383-403

by Claude Berrebi, Jordan Ostwald

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Abstract

A novel and important issue in contemporary security policy is the impact of natural disasters on terrorism. Natural disasters can strain a society and its government, creating vulnerabilities which terrorist groups might exploit. Using a structured methodology and detailed data on terrorism, disasters, and other relevant controls for 167 countries between 1970 and 2007, we find a strong positive impact of disaster-related deaths on subsequent terrorism incidence and fatalities. Furthermore, the effects differ by disaster type and GDP per capita. The results consistently are significant and robust across a multitude of disaster and terrorism measures for a diverse set of model specifications.

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