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Title: Evidence About the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism Among Palestinians
Authors: Berrebi, Claude
Keywords: terrorism
suicide bomber
Issue Date: 1-Sep-2003
Series/Report no.: Working Papers (Princeton University. Industrial Relations Section) ; 477
Abstract: The primary goal of this paper is to investigate whether participation in terrorist activity can be linked to ignorance (measured through schooling) or to economic desperation (measured through poverty on the individual’s level and various economic indicators on the societal level) using newly culled data of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist cells. This paper performs a statistical analysis of the determinants of participation in Hamas and PIJ terrorist activities in Israel from the late 1980’s to the present, as well as a time series analysis of terrorist attacks in Israel with relation to economic conditions. The resulting evidence on the individual level suggests that both higher standards of living and higher levels of education are positively associated with participation in Hamas or PIJ. With regard to the societal economic condition, no sustainable link between terrorism and poverty and education could be found, which I interpret to mean that there is either no link or a very weak indirect link. Special attention is given to the suicide bomber phenomenon, and the analysis of the determinants of becoming a suicide bomber provides additional intriguing findings. In contrast with the “classic” characteristics of a suicidal individual (Hamermesh and Soss, 1974), suicide bombers tend to be of higher economic status and higher educational attainment than their counterparts in the population. Suicide bombers, however, come from lower socioeconomic groups when compared to other, non-suicidal, terrorists.
Appears in Collections:IRS Working Papers

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