Claude Berrebi

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Last name

The primary goal of this paper is to investigate whether participation in terrorist activity
can be linked to ignorance (measured through schooling) or to economic desperation
(measured through poverty on the individual’s level and various economic indicators on
the societal level) using newly culled data of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
terrorist cells. This paper performs a statistical analysis of the determinants of
participation in Hamas and PIJ terrorist activities in Israel from the late 1980’s to the
present, as well as a time series analysis of terrorist attacks in Israel with relation to
economic conditions. The resulting evidence on the individual level suggests that both
higher standards of living and higher levels of education are positively associated with
participation in Hamas or PIJ. With regard to the societal economic condition, no
sustainable link between terrorism and poverty and education could be found, which I
interpret to mean that there is either no link or a very weak indirect link. Special attention
is given to the suicide bomber phenomenon, and the analysis of the determinants of
becoming a suicide bomber provides additional intriguing findings. In contrast with the
“classic” characteristics of a suicidal individual (Hamermesh and Soss, 1974), suicide
bombers tend to be of higher economic status and higher educational attainment than
their counterparts in the population. Suicide bombers, however, come from lower socioeconomic
groups when compared to other, non-suicidal, terrorists.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Berrebi, C. (2003). Evidence About the Link Between Education, Poverty and Terrorism Among Palestinians. Retrieved from (Original work published 09/2003AD)
Working Papers

This paper investigates the interaction between terrorist attacks and electoral
outcomes in Israel. We analyze a dynamic model of reputation that captures the
salient characteristics of this con ict. The equilibrium of the theoretical model
generates two precise empirical predictions on the interaction between terrorism and
electoral outcomes. First, we expect that the relative support for the rightist party
increases after periods with high levels of terrorism and decreases after relatively
calm periods. Second, the expected level of terrorism is higher during the leftist
party s tenure in o¢ ce compared to the one expected during the rightist party s
term in o¢ ce. We test the hypotheses above using a newly culled data set on
terrorist attacks in Israel and the occupied territories between 1990 and 2003. The
rst hypothesis is strongly supported by the available data obtained from public
opinion polls on the Israeli electorate s intent of voting. We use event study methods
and likelihood ratio tests to evaluate the second hypothesis, as electoral outcomes
are endogenous to the level of terrorist attacks. The results support our theoretical
prediction for three of the four Israeli governments in the studied time period.
Accordingly, we observe an increase in terrorist attacks during leftist governments
and a decrease in terrorist attacks during rightist governments.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Berrebi, C., & Klor, E. (2004). On Terrorism and Electoral Outcomes: Theory and Evidence from the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Retrieved from (Original work published 01/2004AD)
Working Papers