A deadlier post-9/11 terrorism landscape for the USA abroad: a quasi-experimental study of backlash effects of terrorism prevention

  • Henda Y. HsuEmail author
  • Bob Edward Vásquez
  • David McDowall



The United States initiated sweeping counterterrorism efforts after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This study tests a backlash hypothesis as it relates to the nature of attacks against the US abroad.


Relying on data from the Global Terrorism Database, this study uses a quasi-experimental design to investigate whether attacks against the US abroad became more or less lethal after 9/11.


There is a significant increase in the proportion of attacks with fatalities and a significant decrease in the proportions of non-lethal attacks against US targets and interests overseas after 9/11. The results suggest a redistribution in the lethality of attacks against the US abroad.


This study finds evidence of a backlash of deadlier terrorism violence against the US abroad after September 11. Examining for unintended consequences is an important facet of terrorism prevention research and policy.


9/11 Backlash Counterterrorism Displacement Homeland security Terrorism Time series 



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henda Y. Hsu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bob Edward Vásquez
    • 2
  • David McDowall
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Human Sciences and HumanitiesUniversity of Houston-Clear LakeHoustonUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminal JusticeTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  3. 3.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

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