Abstract and Keywords
The dominant paradigm on terrorism is what I call the Strategic Model of Terrorism. This model posits that perpetrators of terrorism attack civilians because of the unmatched effectiveness in pressuring government concessions. The strategic model is rooted in bargaining theory, which emphasizes how under anarchy escalating signals the will and ability to punish the target for non-compliance. Over the past decade, however, empirical research has found that neither escalating to terrorism nor with terrorism helps non-state actors to coerce government concessions. In fact, terrorism increases the odds that target countries will dig in their political heels and go on the offensive. These empirical findings raise important questions about why people use terrorism given the negative political return.
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