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The economic roots of domestic terrorism

9th National Competition for Economic Research Grants

International economics

Senior Researcher : Marta Reynal Querol

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad Pompeu Fabra. Barcelona


The aim of this project is to understand the economic causes of domestic terrorism. Using the data of the "Global Terrorism Database" (GTD), we separated out domestic and international cases, based on the origin of the terrorist groups. Aware of the limits of this "cross-country" analysis, all the terrorist events were located geographically (GIS) in order to be able to carry out the "within country" analysis. The density of night-time power use was calculated with power-density averages based on grids. Another problem in this type of analysis is the endogenous nature of income and terrorism. For this, exogenous income shocks at local level have been used by means of measurements for the intensity of earthquakes in the last 100 years. With these new data, evidence has been found that, though at national level there is no relationship between poverty and domestic terrorism ("between country evidence"), at a very sub-national level ("within country evidence"), there are signs that the grids (120 km) suffering income shocks are the regions that have the most terrorist events, independently of whether the country is rich or poor. In contrast, there is no relationship at within-country level between these economic factors and international terrorism.

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