Advertisement

International Advances in Economic Research

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 369–385 | Cite as

The Life Cycle of Terrorist Organizations

  • Peter J. PhillipsEmail author
Article

Abstract

It is a fact that terrorist organizations come and go. This empirical fact tends to draw attention to the demise of the terrorist organization and distracts from the dynamics of the terrorist organization’s life cycle. In this respect, the extant literature suffers from a serious weakness that is symptomatic of the absence from the literature of a rigorous theoretical explanation for the life cycle of terrorist organizations. This paper aims to address this by developing a theoretical explanation for the life cycle of terrorist organizations that is centered on competition for grassroots or popular support between the terrorist organization and the government. The decline and demise of a particular terrorist organization is not certain ex ante and a terrorist organization may be expected to be most dangerous not in its death throes, but during its early years as it competes with the government for grassroots support. These appear to be different conclusions to those that characterise some parts of the literature on this subject. The theoretical explanation developed herein also predicts a cyclical oscillation of conflict.

Keywords

Terrorist organization Life cycle Grassroots support Conflict Demise Cyclical Defence 

JEL

H56 D74 D81 

References

  1. Azam, J. (2002). Looting and conflict between ethno-regional groups: lessons for state formation in Africa. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 46(1), 131–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Crenshaw, M. (1991). How terrorism declines. Terrorism and Political Violence, 3(1), 69–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cronin, A. K. (2006). How Al-Qaida ends: the decline and demise of terrorist groups. International Security, 31(1), 7–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Enders, W., & Sandler, T. (2002). Patterns of transnational terrorism, 1970–1999: alternative time series estimates. International Studies Quarterly, 46, 145–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Enders, W., Parise, G. F., & Sandler, T. (1992). A time-series analysis of transnational terrorism: trends and cycles. Defence Economics, 3, 305–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Faria, J. R., & Arce M., D. (2005). Terror support and recruitment. Defence and Peace Economics, 16(4), 263–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Farrell, J., & Klemperer, P. (2006). Coordination and lock-in: Competition with switching costs and network effects. CEPR Discussion Paper 5798: Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=936412.
  8. Farrell, J., & Shapiro, C. (1988). Dynamic competition with switching costs. The RAND Journal of Economics, 19(1), 123–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Grossman, H. I. (1995). Insurrections. In K. Hartley & T. Sandler (Eds.), Handbook of defense economics (Vol. 1). Amsterdam: North-Holland.Google Scholar
  10. Hoffman, B. (1998). Inside terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Im, E. I., Cauley, J., & Sandler, T. (1987). Cycles and substitutions in terrorist activities: a spectral approach. Kyklos, 40(2), 238–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Intriligator, M., & Brito, D. (1988). A predator-prey model of guerrilla warfare. Synthese, 76(2), 235–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Klemperer, P. (1995). Competition when consumers have switching costs: an overview with applications to industrial organization, macroeconomics and international trade. The Review of Economic Studies, 62(4), 515–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mason, T. D. (1996). Insurgency, counterinsurgency and the rational peasant. Public Choice, 86(1–2), 63–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Mickolus, E. F. (1980). Transnational terrorism: A chronology of events 1968–1979. Westport: Greenwood.Google Scholar
  16. Mickolus, E. F. (1983). International terrorism. In M. Stohl (Ed.), The politics of terrorism. New York: Marcel Dekker.Google Scholar
  17. Rapoport, D. (1992). Terrorism. In M. Hawkesworth & M. Kogan (Eds.), Routledge encyclopaedia of government and politics (Vol. 2). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. Rosendorff, B. P., & Sandler, T. (2004). Too much of a good thing? The proactive response dilemma. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 48(5), 657–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Siqueira, K., & Sandler, T. (2006). Terrorists versus the government: strategic interaction, support and sponsorship. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 50, 878–898.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Weimann, G., & Brosius, H. B. (1988). The predictability of international terrorism: a time-series analysis. Terrorism, 11(6), 491–502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© International Atlantic Economic Society 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Accounting, Economics and FinanceUniversity of Southern QueenslandToowoombaAustralia

Personalised recommendations