What Makes a Terrorist?: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism : Lionel Robbins Lectures

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Princeton University Press, 2007 - Business & Economics - 180 pages
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Many popular ideas about terrorists and why they seek to harm us are fueled by falsehoods and misinformation. Leading politicians and scholars have argued that poverty and lack of education breed terrorism, despite the wealth of evidence showing that most terrorists come from middle-class, and often college-educated, backgrounds. In What Makes a Terrorist, Alan Krueger argues that if we are to correctly assess the root causes of terrorism and successfully address the threat, we must think more like economists do.

Krueger is an influential economist who has applied rigorous statistical analysis to a range of tough issues, from the minimum wage and education to the occurrence of hate crimes. In this book, he explains why our tactics in the fight against terrorism must be based on more than anecdote and speculation. Krueger closely examines the factors that motivate individuals to participate in terrorism, drawing inferences from terrorists' own backgrounds and the economic, social, and political conditions in the societies from which they come. He describes which countries are the most likely breeding grounds for terrorists, and which ones are most likely to be their targets. Krueger addresses the economic and psychological consequences of terrorism. He puts the terrorist threat squarely into perspective, revealing how our nation's sizeable economy is diverse and resilient enough to withstand the comparatively limited effects of most terrorist strikes. And he calls on the media to be more responsible in reporting on terrorism.

What Makes a Terrorist brings needed clarity to one of the greatest challenges of our time.


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What makes a terrorist: economics and the roots of terrorism

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Prominent economist Krueger (economics & public policy, Princeton; coauthor with David Card,Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage ) bases his work here on three lectures he gave ... Read full review

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I had bought the book years ago but found motivation after the attack on Charrlie Hebdo. The freakonomics-like approach to analyse data to terrorism is very informative and convincing. The hypothesis that education and economical situation have little to do with terrorism is by the most important message to design a longterm strategy against terrorism. Some readers will be surprised that terrorism seams to be a tactical instrument to achieve political ends, just as much as it is to politicians of democratic countries to use terrorist attacks on their own country for their political agenda. Krueger sends a warning that that cycle can feed itself.
I highly recommend the reading of this book. Again - if you like econometrics, you can read it like freakonomics.


Who Becomes a Terrorist? Characteristics of Individual Participants in Terrorism
Where Does Terror Emerge? Economic and Political Conditions and Terrorism
What Does Terrorism Accomplish? Economic Psychological and Political Consequences of Terrorism

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About the author (2007)

Alan B. Krueger is Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

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