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Joseph Stiglitz, Aaron Edlin, and J. Bradford DeLong

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231143653

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231143653.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

How to Deal with Terrorism

How to Deal with Terrorism

(p.226) Chapter 26 How to Deal with Terrorism
The Economists' Voice

Bruno S. Frey

Columbia University Press

Deterrence and preemptive strikes are currently being used to fight terrorism, but they work badly, if at all, and in some cases are even counterproductive. This chapter proposes three more viable positive alternatives: (1) reducing vulnerability by decentralizing society; (2) strengthening positive incentives to leave the terrorist camp; and (3) diverting media attention from terrorist groups. Antiterrorist policy based on positive approach has two important advantages over a coercive policy. First, the whole interaction between terrorists and the government takes the character of a positive sum game: all sides benefit. The effort of the government is no longer directed solely toward destruction. Rather, the government makes an effort to raise the utility of those terrorists who choose to enter the programs offered. Second, the positive approach undermines the cohesiveness of the terrorist organization. The incentive to leave is a strong threat to the organization. The terrorist leaders no longer know whom to trust because, after all, most persons can succumb to temptation.

Keywords:   deterrence, preemptive strikes, terrorism, defense policy, anti-terrorist policy, terrorist organizations

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