Advertisement

Public Choice

, Volume 178, Issue 3–4, pp 417–443 | Cite as

Democratic skepticism and support for terrorism in the Palestinian Territories

  • James A. PiazzaEmail author
Article

Abstract

Research has found that, among other factors, skepticism about democracy and its suitability as a form of government helps to drive public support for violent extremism in the Muslim World. According to scholars, Muslim skeptics of democracy resent it as the product of Western political and cultural intrusion and reflexively support violent extremism as an expression of cultural resistance. Using public opinion data on support for various forms of terrorism among survey respondents in the Palestinian Territories, I find evidence for a more complex explanation. Respondents that support terrorism are indeed more likely to be skeptical of democracy because they regard it to be incompatible with Islam. However, terrorism supporters also reject democratic rule because they associate it with poor economic performance. The results suggest that democratic skepticism is associated with support for terrorism in Muslim societies, but point to both religious-cultural and socioeconomic factors as important components of the relationship.

Keywords

Terrorism Democracy Public opinion Palestine Economic performance 

JEL Classification

D74 F52 

References

  1. Abrahms, M. (2007). Why democracies make superior counterterrorists. Security Studies, 16(2), 223–253.Google Scholar
  2. Atran, S. (2003). The genesis of suicide terrorism. Science, 299(5612), 1534–1539.Google Scholar
  3. Basuchoudhary, A., & Shughart, W. (2010). On ethnic conflict and the origins of transnational terrorism. Public Choice, 21(1), 65–87.Google Scholar
  4. Bayat, A. (2002). Activism and social development in the Middle East. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 34(1), 1–28.Google Scholar
  5. Beblawi, H., & Luciani, G. (1987). The rentier state: Nation, state and integration in the Arab World (Vol. 2). London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  6. Benstead, L. J. (2015). Why do some Arab citizens see democracy as unsuitable for their country? Democratization, 22(7), 1183–1208.Google Scholar
  7. Berger, L. (2014). Foreign policies or culture: What shapes Muslim public opinion on political violence against the United States? Journal of Peace Research, 51(6), 782–796.Google Scholar
  8. Bueno De Mesquita, E. (2007). Correlates of public support for terrorism in the Muslim world. Washington, DC: US Institute of Peace.Google Scholar
  9. Chenoweth, E. (2010). Democratic competition and terrorist activity. The Journal of Politics, 72(1), 16–30.Google Scholar
  10. Cherney, A., & Povey, J. (2013). Exploring support for terrorism among Muslims. Perspectives on terrorism, 7(3), 5–16.Google Scholar
  11. Ciftci, S., O’Donnell, B. J., & Tanner, A. (2017). Who favors al-Qaeda? Anti-Americanism, religious outlooks, and favorable attitudes toward terrorist organizations. Political Research Quarterly, 70(3), 480–494.Google Scholar
  12. Crenshaw, M. (1981). The causes of terrorism. Comparative Politics, 13(4), 379–399.Google Scholar
  13. Crenshaw, M. (2000). The psychology of terrorism: An agenda for the 21st century. Political Psychology, 21(2), 405–420.Google Scholar
  14. Diamond, L. (2015). Why are there no Arab democracies? In L. Diamond (Ed.), In search of democracy (pp. 176–188). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Enders, W., & Sandler, T. (2012). The political economy of terrorism. London: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Esposito, J. L., & Mogahed, D. (2007). Who speaks for Islam? What a billion Muslims really think. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  17. Eubank, W. L., & Weinberg, L. (1994). Does democracy encourage terrorism? Terrorism and Political Violence, 6(4), 417–435.Google Scholar
  18. Eyerman, J. (1998). Terrorism and democratic states: Soft targets or accessible systems? International Interactions, 24(2), 151–170.Google Scholar
  19. Fair, C. C., Hamza, A., & Heller, R. (2017). Who supports suicide terrorism in Bangladesh? What the data say. Politics and Religion, 10(3), 622–661.Google Scholar
  20. Fair, C. C., Malhotra, N., & Shapiro, J. N. (2012). Faith or doctrine? Religion and support for political violence in Pakistan. Public Opinion Quarterly, 76(4), 688–720.Google Scholar
  21. Fair, C. C., & Shepherd, B. (2006). Who supports terrorism? Evidence from fourteen Muslim countries. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 29(1), 51–74.Google Scholar
  22. Gaibulloev, K., Piazza, J. A., & Sandler, T. (2017). Regime types and terrorism. International Organization, 71(3), 491–522.Google Scholar
  23. Gentzkow, M. A., & Shapiro, J. M. (2004). Media, education and anti-Americanism in the Muslim world. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18(3), 117–133.Google Scholar
  24. Haddad, S., & Khashan, H. (2002). Islam and terrorism: Lebanese Muslim views on September 11. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 46(6), 812–828.Google Scholar
  25. Hoffman, B. (2003). Al Qaeda, trends in terrorism, and future potentialities: An assessment. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 26(6), 429–442.Google Scholar
  26. Howard, T. O. (2013). Poor scapegoats: Moving beyond radical Islam, modernization, and authoritarian rule as the root causes of terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa. Air & Space Power Journal-Africa and Francophonie, 4(2), 25–63.Google Scholar
  27. Jamal, A. A. (2012). Of empires and citizens: Pro-American democracy or no democracy at all?. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Joya, A. (2017). Neoliberalism, the state and economic policy outcomes in the post-Arab uprisings: the case of Egypt. Mediterranean Politics, 22(3), 339–361.Google Scholar
  29. Juergensmeyer, M. (2017). Terror in the mind of god: The global rise of religious violence (Vol. 13). Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  30. Kaltenthaler, K., Miller, W. J., Ceccoli, S., & Gelleny, R. (2010). The sources of Pakistani attitudes toward religiously motivated terrorism. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 33(9), 815–835.Google Scholar
  31. Kaltenthaler, K., Silverman, D., & Dagher, M. (2018). Identity, ideology, and information: The sources of Iraqi public support for the Islamic State. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2018.1433447.Google Scholar
  32. Klein, N. (2004). Baghdad year zero: Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of a neocon utopia. Harper’s Magazine, 309(1852), 43–53.Google Scholar
  33. Krueger, A. B., & Malečková, J. (2003). Education, poverty and terrorism: Is there a causal connection? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17(4), 119–144.Google Scholar
  34. Kruglanski, A. W., & Fishman, S. (2006). The psychology of terrorism: “Syndrome” versus “tool” perspectives. Terrorism and Political Violence, 18(2), 193–215.Google Scholar
  35. Kuran, T. (1995). Islamic economics and the Islamic subeconomy. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9(4), 155–173.Google Scholar
  36. Kushner, H. W. (1996). Suicide bombers: Business as usual. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 19(4), 329–337.Google Scholar
  37. LaFree, G., & Morris, N. A. (2012). Does legitimacy matter? Attitudes toward anti-American violence in Egypt, Morocco, and Indonesia. Crime & Delinquency, 58(5), 689–719.Google Scholar
  38. Li, Q. (2005). Does democracy promote or reduce transnational terrorist incidents? Journal of Conflict Resolution, 49(2), 278–297.Google Scholar
  39. Mansfield, E. D., & Mutz, D. C. (2009). Support for free trade: Self-interest, sociotropic politics, and out-group anxiety. International Organization, 63(3), 425–457.Google Scholar
  40. Mishal, S., & Sela, A. (2006). The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, violence and coexistence. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Moghadam, A. (2008). The globalization of martyrdom: Al Qaeda, Salafi Jihad, and the diffusion of suicide attacks. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  42. Mousseau, M. (2011). Urban poverty and support for Islamist terror: Survey results of Muslims in fourteen countries. Journal of Peace Research, 48(1), 35–47.Google Scholar
  43. Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Project. (2013). Muslim publics share concerns about extremist groups: Much diminished support for suicide bombings. http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2013/09/Pew-Global-Attitudes-Project-Extremism-Report-Final-9-10-135.pdf. Accessed July 24, 2018.
  44. Piazza, J. A. (2008). Do democracy and free markets protect us from terrorism? International Politics, 45(1), 72–91.Google Scholar
  45. Ross, J. I. (1993). Structural causes of oppositional political terrorism: Towards a causal model. Journal of Peace Research, 30(3), 317–329.Google Scholar
  46. Ross, M. L. (2001). Does oil hinder democracy? World Politics, 53(3), 325–361.Google Scholar
  47. Rowley, C. K., & Smith, N. (2009). Islam’s democracy paradox: Muslims claim to like democracy, so why do they have so little? Public Choice, 139(3–4), 273–299.Google Scholar
  48. Schwarz, R. (2008). The political economy of state-formation in the Arab Middle East: Rentier states, economic reform, and democratization. Review of International Political Economy, 15(4), 599–621.Google Scholar
  49. Shafiq, M., & Sinno, A. H. (2010). Education, income, and support for suicide bombings: Evidence from six Muslim countries. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 54(1), 146–178.Google Scholar
  50. Telhami, S. (2013). The world through Arab eyes: Arab public opinion and the reshaping of the Middle East. Philadelphia, PA: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  51. Tessler, M., Jamal, A., & Robbins, M. (2012). New findings on Arabs and democracy. Journal of Democracy, 23(4), 89–103.Google Scholar
  52. Tessler, M., & Robbins, M. D. (2007). What leads some ordinary Arab men and women to approve of terrorist acts against the United States? Journal of Conflict Resolution, 51(2), 305–328.Google Scholar
  53. Ulfelder, J. (2007). Natural-resource wealth and the survival of autocracy. Comparative Political Studies, 40(8), 995–1018.Google Scholar
  54. Weinstein, J. M. (2005). Resources and the information problem in rebel recruitment. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 49(4), 598–624.Google Scholar
  55. White House. (2002). The national security strategy of the United States of America. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/63562.pdf. Accessed March 1, 2018.
  56. White House. (2006). The national security strategy of the United States of America. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/64884.pdf. Accessed March 1, 2018.
  57. Wiktorowicz, Q. (2004). Introduction. In Q. Wiktorowicz (Ed.), Islamic activism: A social movement theory approach (pp. 1–33). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Wittes, T. C. (2008). Freedom’s unsteady march: America’s role in building Arab democracy. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.Google Scholar
  59. Wittes, T. C. (2016). Want to stabilize the Middle East? Start with governance. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute.Google Scholar
  60. Zhirkov, K., Verkuyten, M., & Weesie, J. (2014). Perceptions of world politics and support for terrorism among Muslims: Evidence from Muslim countries and Western Europe. Conflict Management and Peace Science, 31(5), 481–501.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations