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Terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa – Drivers and Consequences
Friday, Jan. 4, 2019
10:15 AM - 12:15 PM
Middle East Economic Association
University of Southern California
Do Israeli Settlements Radicalize Palestinians?
Political and economic grievances are a key source of animosity between groups but little systematic evidence exists on the sources of such grievances. This paper helps fill this gap by examining the impact of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories on Palestinian attitudes towards the conflict and towards Israel. Since it took control of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 the government of Israel has been setting up and expanding Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories. The analysis addresses the potential endogeneity of the settlements’ location and growth using a large array of control, instrumental variables as well as identification methods. The results suggest that an addition of one thousand Israeli settlers located within one kilometer from a Palestinian locality reduces the locality’s support for more moderate factions by between 0.5 and 0.6 percentage points. We argue that this effect is important to explain the victory of the radical faction Hamas in the 2006 Palestinian elections. At the district level the same change in settlers’ population increases the probability of a Palestinian supporting violence against any Israeli target by 1.5 and against Israeli civilians (including also the settlers) by 4 percentage points. We also show that the evacuation of settlements increased the Palestinian support for moderate factions between the 1996 and 2006 elections and reduced the Palestinian support for violence. We provide suggestive evidence that it is mainly the increased competition for scarce natural resources, particularly land and water, that drives the radicalization effects of the settlements.
Effects of Terrorism on the Labor Market: Case Study of Iraq
This study tries to provide empirical evidence on the economic consequences of terrorism on the labor market and labor force. We develop a set of hypotheses from classical labor economic theory around the consumer maximization problem and propose a threshold for endangerment costs that, when reached, cause households to choose not working, and a smaller consumption, rather than work and face the danger of terrorism and violence. As such, we hypothesize that increased endangerment costs lead to fewer people working, less hours worked per week, lower wages, and poorer job permanence. To the best of our knowledge, this might be the first study that empirically explores the economic consequences of terrorism on the labor market within a country facing insurgent and sectarian violence. The analysis studies the effect of violence in Iraq on the labor force using a nationwide household socio-economic survey that was conducted at the household and individual level in 2007 by the Iraqi Organization for Statistics and Information Technology (COSIT), Kurdistan Regional Statistics Office (KRSO), and the World Bank. In addition, the analysis adopts a variety of labor market measures to provide an analysis of household’s short and long run terrorism effects. Briefly, our preliminary results show strong evidence in favor of each hypothesis.
Impact of Terrorism on Child Sex at Birth: Evidence from Pakistan
Using insights from the literature on psychology and medicine, we examine the impact of terrorism on child sex at birth. The psychological and social stressors associated with terrorist events prior to conception trigger changes in maternal hormones that have an implication for birth outcomes. We extract data on 11,763 live births conceived between 2005 and 2012 from Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey 2012-2013. The individual birth data are matched with household and district data from the same survey and monthly terrorist incidents information from Global Terrorism Database. We investigate the effect of terrorist attacks around the time of conception on the probability of having a boy after controlling for location (state and district) characteristics, time (year and moth) effects, and socio-economic factors of parents. Our preliminary findings suggest that terrorist attacks during conception period reduce the likelihood of a male birth. The literature on the economic consequences of terrorism is inconclusive. Our results provide microeconomic evidence of the long-term impact of terrorism on population dynamics and economic development.
Democracy, Personal Freedom, and Islamic State Fighters
Never before in modern history have foreign fighters gathered at the speed and scale as they have in the territory of the Islamic State (IS). While some argue that many of IS foreign fighters appear to have joined as a reaction to persistent and obstinate local conditions of autocracy, discrimination, and oppression, a considerable number of foreign fighters also come from developed countries enjoying high levels of democracy and personal freedom, including Austria, Belgium, and Sweden. Even after the demise of Islamic State in 2017, the IS foreign fighter phenomenon remains a source of severe security risk globally as those who have been involved in terrorist operations on the ground may continue their fight as “returnees” against targets in their homeland. This study examines the effect of democracy and personal freedom on the outﬂow of IS foreign ﬁghters to Syria, as well as their flow back home as returnees. While the effect of democracy appears to be insignificant, our cross-country regressions show that countries which a higher level of personal freedom (I) had a significantly larger outflow of foreign fighters (per million population) to join IS, and (II) receive a significantly larger percentage share of returning foreign fighter. Our results are robust across different model specifications and account for possible collinearity concerns.
F5 - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy
Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology