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Terrorism risk and optimal policy response: theory and empirics

Terrorism risk and optimal policy response: theory and empirics The proliferation of terrorism worldwide raises the risk that terrorist strategies could evolve from conventional methods (e.g. suicide attacks) to biological, chemical and even radioactive and nuclear attacks (commonly abbreviated as CBRN) which are potentially much more dangerous. The authors make three contributions toward a better understanding of this risk and how it responds to counterterrorism measures.Design/methodology/approachThe authors develop a game that captures the terrorists’ potential strategic substitution between conventional and CBRN-type attacks; the authors calibrate the parameters of the game to real data using a novel calibration method and a partially unique dataset; they estimate the heavy-tailed distribution of attack severity and thus the probability of a successful attack, the underlying effort to launch an attack and the intrinsic difficulty of launching different types of attacks.FindingsThe authors find that in equilibrium, CBRN attacks, though less likely and more difficult to execute, are more deadly. In the end, the trade-off between, on one hand, the greater difficulty of carrying out a CBRN attack, and on the other, the greater deadliness of such an attack, points to a level of optimal counterterrorism spending by governments that weighs toward defending against CBRN attacks. The authors discuss these results and compare them with the actual level of counterterrorism spending by the US Government.Originality/valueThe framework of the game allows for substitution between the conventional and CBRN weapon types. These aspects of this paper, together with the unique calibration methodology, and the use of some unique terrorism data for the first time, are what distinguish this work from similar game theoretic papers in this area. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Indian Growth and Development Review Emerald Publishing

Terrorism risk and optimal policy response: theory and empirics

Indian Growth and Development Review , Volume 13 (2): 20 – Dec 15, 2020

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References (28)

Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1753-8254
eISSN
1753-8254
DOI
10.1108/igdr-08-2019-0090
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The proliferation of terrorism worldwide raises the risk that terrorist strategies could evolve from conventional methods (e.g. suicide attacks) to biological, chemical and even radioactive and nuclear attacks (commonly abbreviated as CBRN) which are potentially much more dangerous. The authors make three contributions toward a better understanding of this risk and how it responds to counterterrorism measures.Design/methodology/approachThe authors develop a game that captures the terrorists’ potential strategic substitution between conventional and CBRN-type attacks; the authors calibrate the parameters of the game to real data using a novel calibration method and a partially unique dataset; they estimate the heavy-tailed distribution of attack severity and thus the probability of a successful attack, the underlying effort to launch an attack and the intrinsic difficulty of launching different types of attacks.FindingsThe authors find that in equilibrium, CBRN attacks, though less likely and more difficult to execute, are more deadly. In the end, the trade-off between, on one hand, the greater difficulty of carrying out a CBRN attack, and on the other, the greater deadliness of such an attack, points to a level of optimal counterterrorism spending by governments that weighs toward defending against CBRN attacks. The authors discuss these results and compare them with the actual level of counterterrorism spending by the US Government.Originality/valueThe framework of the game allows for substitution between the conventional and CBRN weapon types. These aspects of this paper, together with the unique calibration methodology, and the use of some unique terrorism data for the first time, are what distinguish this work from similar game theoretic papers in this area.

Journal

Indian Growth and Development ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Dec 15, 2020

Keywords: Extreme distributions; Terrorism risk; Optimal policy; Game

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