Do Drones Work? The United States Targeted Killing Program and Terrorism in Pakistan
There has been heavy debate on the United States targeted killing program, but very little on the effectiveness of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or drone, strikes as a counterterrorism tactic. The prevailing notion asserted by the United States government and much of the news media is that the UAV program works, and that our only qualms might be with its ethical, moral, and legal implications. However, with so few empirical studies to reference, this assumption is premature, especially given analyses that suggest that negative public opinion on drone strikes in affected countries may actually strengthen terrorist groups. This paper examines United States UAV strikes and terrorist attacks in Pakistan from 2006 to 2012, using mainly a difference-in-difference model, and finds that the targeted killing program may, in fact, be worsening the problem of terrorism.
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