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Do Weak Institutions Affect Recording of Terror Incidents? Evidence from the United States

Rajeev K. Goel


Recording of crimes as terror incidents often falls in an unclear/fuzzy area due to overlaps with other crimes such as hate crimes, drug or mental health-related crimes, etc. This paper addresses the recording of crimes as terror crimes across US states, alternately considering both the prevalence and intensity of such crimes. Placing the explanatory variables under institutional, economic, social, political and enforcement categories, results show that weak institutions, ceteris paribus, undermine the recording of terror crimes. In other significant influences, states with greater ethnic homogeneity were less likely to have recorded terror crimes and more populous states had greater incidence (but not greater intensity) of recorded terror activity. Some implications for policy are discussed.

JEL Classification: F52; H56; K42; K49


Comments of Raul Caruso and two referees are appreciated.


Table 5:

Robustness checks using lagged values of corruption.

Dependent variable →TERRincidenceTERRintensity
Wald chi-sq23.9**13.7**

  1. Constant included but not reported in these Probit regressions (A1.1-A1.2). The numbers in parentheses are (absolute) z-statistics based on robust standard errors. * and **, respectively, denote statistical significance at the 10% and 5% (or better) levels.

  2. Constant included but not reported in these robust regressions (A1.3-A1.4). The numbers in parentheses are (absolute) t-statistics. * and **, respectively, denote statistical significance at the 10% and 5% (or better) levels.

  3. CORR14pc and CORR13pc, respectively, correspond to corruption convictions (per capita) in 2014 and 2013.


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Published Online: 2019-07-26

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