Public Choice

, Volume 129, Issue 3–4, pp 301–313 | Cite as

Appeasing nihilists? Some economic thoughts on reducing terrorist activity

  • Jan Schnellenbach


Recent contributions to the economics of terrorism have given contradicting recommendations for campaigning against terrorism, from the proposal to deprive terrorists of their resources to the proposal of raising the opportunity costs of terrorism by increasing the wealth of the affected regions. Within a simple framework which differentiates between the decision to become an active terrorist and the decision to support terrorists and which allows for reciprocal reactions to anti-terrorism policies, it is argued here that undifferentiated deterrence may indeed backfire, but so may an increase of the opportunity costs of terrorism. A very targeted anti-terrorism policy aimed only at active terrorists would then be the most reasonable remaining approach.

Key Words

Terrorism Deterrence Reciprocity Anti-terrorism policies 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics, Department for Public EconomicsPhilipps-University MarburgMarburgGermany

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