What is it about?

This paper is about the inferences that are made about terrorist behaviour. These inferences are often somewhat inconsistent across terrorism studies disciplines. Behavioural economics can help us spot and correct these inconsistencies. In this paper, we explain how.

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Why is it important?

Someone might say, for example, that a terrorist group became more risk seeking. But what does this mean? Technically, it means that the terrorist group switched from trading off risk against reward to trading off reward against risk. This would mean that the group would seek out the riskiest possible action, and only that action. This could happen but only under certain circumstances. These are types of things that we discuss in this paper.


This paper evolved over an almost 3-year period. We worked on it in 2019, and submitted just before Christmas that year. With the guidance of reviewers and editors over the next two years, we revised the paper completely. It became a paper about the things that are said about terrorists and what these things might really mean. The long period of additional work was well worth it in the end.

Dr Peter J Phillips
University of Southern Queensland

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Speaking of terrorist behaviour, Crime Law and Social Change, December 2021, Springer Science + Business Media, DOI: 10.1007/s10611-021-10010-1.
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