Media and terrorist choice: a risk-reward analysis

Pohl, Gabriela (2015) Media and terrorist choice: a risk-reward analysis. Journal of Applied Security Research, 10 (1). pp. 60-76. ISSN 1936-1610

Abstract

This article presents an economic analysis of terrorist choice in a context where media coverage is the desired payoff. Terrorist groups are depicted as maximizing an expected utility function with two relevant parameters: risk (variance of payoffs) and reward (average payoff). The theoretical framework deployed in this article permits the relative 'efficiency' of different terrorist groups to be
assessed. Using data for the period 1970 to 1980 in the Federal Republic of Germany, each active terrorist group's allocation of resources to different attack methods is assessed against an 'efficient' or optimal trade-off between risk and reward. Among the several findings that emerge is the relative efficiency of the Red Army Faction (RAF); a group known to be particularly media 'savvy.' The RAF's resource allocations across the period under consideration would, given the structure of media coverage accorded to different attacks carried out by all groups, generate an almost optimum expected payoff at the group's chosen level of risk. In addition to these micro-level findings, the analysis presented in this article shows a clearer picture of the decision-making process of terrorist groups in a context where those groups attempt to maximize media coverage for their actions.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC 2015. Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2015 23:31
Last Modified: 18 May 2016 06:23
Uncontrolled Keywords: terrorism; economic analysis; media coverage; opportunity set; attack method combinations; terrorist groups' relative efficiencies; Federal Republic of Germany; Red Army Faction (RAF); mean-variance analysis
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160604 Defence Studies
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140299 Applied Economics not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: A Defence > 81 Defence > 8101 Defence > 810107 National Security
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/19361610.2015.972271
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/26619

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