The Effects of Structural Policies on Terrorist Incidents in Democracies, 1975 to 1995
Despite the fact that democratic governments more ably and fairly represent their citizens compared to authoritarian governments, the existing empirical literature finds a positive statistical association between democratic governance and terrorist incidents. Rather than questioning the system of government, these findings raise questions about which policies democracies can undertake to most effectively thwart terrorism. Using a negative binomial regression, this study models the count of terrorist attacks in a selection of countries using spending on the national security bureaucracy, spending on social welfare programs, and trade flows as explanatory variables. Spending on the national security bureaucracy has a positive statistical association with terrorist incidents; spending on social welfare programs has a negative statistical association with terrorist incidents; and there is no statistical association between trade and terrorist incidents. The results suggest punitive policies are not the most effective means of reducing terrorist incidents and governments ought to consider positive, preventative policies such as greater social welfare spending in their counterterrorism strategies.
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