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What Do Transnational Terrorists Target? Has It Changed? Are We Safer?

Patrick T. Brandt and Todd Sandler ()
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Patrick T. Brandt: School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX, pbrandt@utdallas.edu

Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2010, vol. 54, issue 2, 214-236

Abstract: This article utilizes Bayesian Poisson changepoint regression models to demonstrate how transnational terrorists adjusted their target choices in response to target hardening. In addition, changes in the collective tastes of terrorists and their sponsorship have played a role in target selection over time. For each of four target types— officials, military, business, and private parties—the authors identify the number of regimes and the probable predictors of the events. Regime changes are tied to the rise of modern transnational terrorism, the deployment of technological barriers, the start of state sponsorship, and the dominance of the fundamentalists. The authors also include two sets of covariates—logistical outcome and victim’s nature—to better explain the dynamics. As other targets have been fortified and terrorists have sought greater carnage, private parties have become the preferred target type. In recent years, terrorists have increasingly favored people over property for all target types. Moreover, authorities have been more successful at stopping attacks against officials and the military, thereby motivating terrorists to attack business targets and private parties.

Keywords: Bayesian Poisson changepoint regression; transnational terrorism; target choice dynamics; homeland security (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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