A Study of Higher Education and Unemployment as Predictors of Terrorism

A Study of Higher Education and Unemployment as Predictors of Terrorism

Clare Richardson

What country conditions breed terrorism? Relative deprivation theory holds that instead of an absolute standard of deprivation, a gap between expected and achieved welfare leads men to political violence. My research examines whether levels of unemployment and higher education that reflect relative deprivation correspond with an increase in terrorist attacks. A recent surge in empirical studies of terrorism has shown that, contrary to popular belief, terrorists tend to be highly educated and from wealthier families than average. This study models relative deprivation by examining the effect of unemployment and tertiary education on levels of terrorism. I examine terrorist attacks from 1980-2008 across 56 countries to see whether the interaction effect of unemployment and higher education is positively correlated with an increase in the number of terrorist attacks. The results of my multivariate regression suggest that this interaction
may be somewhat significant in countries where there have been previous attacks. Additionally, while unemployment and population size are strongly correlated with increased instances of terrorism, higher education alone has no significant relationship with a nation’s levels of terrorism. I discuss possible reasons for the significance of these indicators and the policy implications of my findings.

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2 thoughts on “A Study of Higher Education and Unemployment as Predictors of Terrorism

    • and girls…. Women are some of the the most fearsome terrorists. Whilst a funny observation it’s an oversimplification. Evidently ‘having nothing to do’ doesn’t translate into ‘let’s chop off some heads and blow up innocents’. Good thing, since there are a vast number of people with nothing much to do and with the introduction of more and more sophisticated robots that number will only rise.

      Imho it’s that portion of the population whose inner animal is more present, whose cognitive functions less developed. Indication that an education doesn’t imply higher spiritual development, anyone with a good retentive memory and sufficient patience can be formally educated and at the same time still be an ape with intellect.

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