Prospect theory and geographic profiling: the terrorist's choice of target

Phillips, Peter J. (2015) Prospect theory and geographic profiling: the terrorist's choice of target. Working Paper. Unpublished . [Report]


This paper explores the implications of prospect theory for the geographic profiling of offenders. Prospect theory identifies several behavioural biases that are relevant to the offender’s choice of target and movements in geographic space. It is possible that concepts such as the reference point, diminishing sensitivity, loss aversion and risk aversion (seeking) in the domain of gains (losses) may contribute to the solution of relevant geographic profiling problems. The paper concentrates its analysis on terrorism and terrorist behaviour but the main results are able to be extended to some other types of serial crime. Perhaps the most interesting implication of the analysis is that the offender may drift away from the location where he was ‘successful’ but remain fixated on a location where he ‘failed’. This result, which seems counter-intuitive at first, emerges directly from a consideration of the implications of prospect theory for offender choice in geographic space and in particular the implication that gains produce risk aversion while losses produce risk seeking behaviour.

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Item Type: Report (Working Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Unpublished working paper.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Commerce
Date Deposited: 14 May 2015 06:08
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2017 02:24
Uncontrolled Keywords: terrorism, terrorist, serial crime, risk aversion, risk seeking, geographic profiling, prospect theory, loss aversion, reference point
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1602 Criminology > 160205 Police Administration, Procedures and Practice
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140299 Applied Economics not elsewhere classified
16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160604 Defence Studies
14 Economics > 1401 Economic Theory > 140104 Microeconomic Theory
Socio-Economic Objective: A Defence > 81 Defence > 8101 Defence > 810107 National Security
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970114 Expanding Knowledge in Economics

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