Attitudes and Action: Public Opinion and the Occurrence of International Terrorism

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Science  18 Sep 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5947, pp. 1534-1536
DOI: 10.1126/science.1170867

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The predictors of terrorism are unclear. This paper examines the effect of public opinion in one country toward another country on the number of terrorist attacks perpetrated by people or groups from the former country against targets in the latter country. Public opinion was measured by the percentage of people in Middle Eastern and North African countries who disapprove of the leadership of nine world powers. Count models for 143 pairs of countries were used to estimate the effect of public opinion on terrorist incidents, controlling for other relevant variables and origin-country fixed effects. We found a greater incidence of international terrorism when people of one country disapprove of the leadership of another country.

  • * After this article was submitted to Science, Professor Krueger was appointed Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the U.S. Department of Treasury. The contents of the paper do not necessarily represent the position of the U.S. government.

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