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The Effectiveness of Antiterrorism Policies: A Vector-Autoregression-Intervention Analysis

  • Walter Enders (a1) and Todd Sandler (a1)

Abstract

Using quarterly data from 1968 to 1988, we analyze the time series properties of the various attack modes used by transnational terrorists. Combining vector autoregression and intervention analysis, we find strong evidence of both substitutes and complements among the attack modes. We also evaluate the effectiveness of six policies designed to thwart terrorism. The existence of complements and substitutes means that policies designed to reduce one type of attack may affect other attack modes. For example, the installation of metal detectors in airports reduced skyjackings and diplomatic incidents but increased other kinds of hostage attacks (barricade missions, kidnappings) and assassinations. In the long run, embassy fortification decreased barricade missions but increased assassinations. The Reagan “get tough” policy, which resulted in the enactment of two laws in 1984 and a retaliatory raid on Libya in 1986, did not have any noticeable long-term effect on curbing terrorist attacks directed against U.S. interests.

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