Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 13 > Issue 2

Terrorism, Wealth, and Delegation

William Spaniel, University of Pittsburgh, USA, williamspaniel@gmail.com
Suggested Citation
William Spaniel (2018), "Terrorism, Wealth, and Delegation", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 13: No. 2, pp 147-172. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00017060

Publication Date: 23 May 2018
© 2018 W. Spaniel
Civil Conflict,  Game theory,  Formal Modeling,  International Conflict,  Security,  Uncertainty
Terrorismdelegationuncertaintycivil conflictinternational conflict


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In this article:
Modeling Delegation 
Terrorist Background and Effectiveness of Attacks 
Manipulating Wealth and Terror 
Proof of Proposition 1 
Proof of Proposition 2 
Proof of Proposition 3 and 4 


I develop a model in which a terrorist organization delegates tasks to recruits. The organization wants to assign sensitive tasks to the most reliable recruits but cannot perfectly identify commitment to the cause. In equilibrium, the organization interprets the desirability of a recruit's opportunities in the civilian sector as a credible signal. When the recruit has attractive options available, the organization infers his commitment and gives him a sensitive task; when it is low, the organization conservatively assigns him a non-sensitive task. I then extend the model to allow for a third party to endogenously improve economic conditions among the civilian population. Despite raising the opportunity cost of terrorism, such subsidies can increase violence because they help the organization identify committed types.