Public Choice

, 149:383 | Cite as

Earthquakes, hurricanes, and terrorism: do natural disasters incite terror?

  • Claude BerrebiEmail author
  • Jordan OstwaldEmail author


A novel and important issue in contemporary security policy is the impact of natural disasters on terrorism. Natural disasters can strain a society and its government, creating vulnerabilities which terrorist groups might exploit. Using a structured methodology and detailed data on terrorism, disasters, and other relevant controls for 167 countries between 1970 and 2007, we find a strong positive impact of disaster-related deaths on subsequent terrorism incidence and fatalities. Furthermore, the effects differ by disaster type and GDP per capita. The results consistently are significant and robust across a multitude of disaster and terrorism measures for a diverse set of model specifications.


Terrorism Disaster Panel data 

JEL Classification

D74 H56 Q54 C23 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA
  2. 2.The Federmann School of Public Policy and GovernmentHebrew UniversityJerusalemIsrael

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