The lone wolf terrorist: sprees of violence

Phillips, Peter J. (2012) The lone wolf terrorist: sprees of violence. Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, 18 (3). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1079-2457

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The purpose of this paper is to apply economic science to the analysis of the opportunities and choices of single individual 'lone wolf' terrorists whose attacks are characterised by 'sprees' of violence that last only for a relatively short period of time. Unlike 'serial' lone wolves who engage in violent terrorism over a prolonged period of time and unlike those lone wolves who engage in a single crudely planned terrorist attack and are apprehended without inflicting significant injuries or fatalities, the attacks of spree lone wolves are concentrated in a very short period of time, perhaps no longer than several days and sometimes as little as a few hours, and may generate significant levels of human tragedy. The spree lone wolf also emerges suddenly. Having previously allocated no resources to violent terrorism, he suddenly and all at once allocates 100 percent of his resources, including time, to violent terrorism. The first step to providing guidance to governments and their security and law enforcement agencies is to encompass some important elements of the spree lone wolf's opportunities and choices within an economic analytical framework. The first steps towards this encompassment are undertaken in this paper by exploring the opportunities and choices of the spree lone wolf from a risk-reward perspective and a treatment of the spree lone wolf as an individual who, while attempting to maximise his expected utility, shuns the risk-reduction benefits of 'time diversification' and suddenly plunges all of his resources into violent terrorism within a single time period.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2013 00:05
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 01:52
Uncontrolled Keywords: lone wolf; terrorism; violent terrorism; expected utility; spree; serial; plunge
Fields of Research : 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140213 Public Economics-Public Choice
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160609 Political Theory and Political Philosophy
14 Economics > 1401 Economic Theory > 140104 Microeconomic Theory
Socio-Economic Objective: A Defence > 81 Defence > 8101 Defence > 810107 National Security
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1515/peps-2012-0010

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