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The main aim of this dissertation is to study the underlying competition between governments and terrorist organizations for support of the population. The government and the terrorist organization are locked in a struggle to win the hearts and minds of potential followers, and their weapons are to strike at each other or attempt to buy the support of the population. This dissertation investigates this battle and attempts to answer why governments so often respond with harsh, disproportional responses when these responses appear to strengthen the terrorist organization. While the terrorist organization may have an incentive to risk triggering a crushing and debilitating response from the government if this response increases their base mobilization rate, the question remains as to why the government responds with such an attack. This dissertation is structured in five chapters: (1) Introduction, summarizing the key insights from the 3 main papers; (2) Paper 01, investigating the role of uncertainty regarding the terrorist's resource level and the impact this uncertainty plays on the decision to respond with a discriminating or undiscriminating counterstrike; (3) Paper 02, addressing the role social services plays in strengthening the popular support of the terrorist organization; (4) Paper 03, adding more nuance to the previous arguments by allowing for the support of the terrorist organization to be heterogenous (consisting of both core and popular support) and endogenizing this support as a response to the actions of the terrorist organization and the government; (5) Conclusion, discussing the limitations of the project and a discussion of future research.
club goods, counterterrorism, insurgency, provocation, social goods provision, terrorism
Date of Defense
June 26, 2013.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Political Science in partial fulﬁllment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
David A. Siegel, Professor Co-Directing Dissertation; Will H. Moore, Professor Co-Directing Dissertation; David J. Cooper, University Representative; Mark Souva, Committee Member; Jens Großer, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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