Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 2
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Gibbs, Jennifer C. 2015. Terrorism and Counterterrorism Today.

    Yamamoto, Teppei 2012. Understanding the Past: Statistical Analysis of Causal Attribution. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 56, Issue. 1, p. 237.


Methods and Findings in the Study of Suicide Terrorism

  • ROBERT A. PAPE (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2008

Scott Ashworth, Joshua Clinton, Adam Meirowitz, and Kristopher Ramsay (2008) allege that I have committed the sin of sampling on the dependent variable by considering only the universe of suicide terrorist attacks rather than the universe of all imaginable instances when potential or actual terrorists might have committed suicide attacks, and so cannot measure the effects of any independent variables. They go on to describe a method that they say I should have used, which is not of interest because the accusation that is supposed to motivate this discussion is inaccurate.

The main claim—that my work on suicide terrorism samples on the dependent variable—is simply wrong. Indeed, the authors paid no attention to the large portions of my recent book that explain what we know about factors that make resort to suicide terrorist campaigns more or less likely, and how we know it. Hence, this letter is mainly devoted to updating Ashworth, Clinton, Meirowitz, and Ramsay on my work. I also make a few comments about the general question of whether concerns about “sample bias” should carry significant weight when dealing with the complete universe of a phenomenon, as is the case in my work on suicide terrorism.

Corresponding author
Robert A. Pape is Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago, 5028 S. University Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637 (
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Robert A. Pape 2005. Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism. New York: Random House, 2005.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *