Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Caruso, Raul

Ed. by Bove, Vincenzo / Kibris, Arzu / Sekeris, Petros

4 Issues per year


CiteScore 2017: 0.54

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.304
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.540

Online
ISSN
1554-8597
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 21, Issue 3

Issues

Volume 17 (2011)

Volume 4 (1996)

Volume 3 (1995)

Volume 2 (1994)

Volume 1 (1993)

A Mathematical Analysis of Domestic Terrorist Activity in the Years of Lead in Italy

Marco Marcovina / Bruno Pellero
  • Researcher and adjunct professor at Master in Economic Intelligence, Department of Education Science and Technologies, Tor Vergata University, Via Orazio Raimondo, 18, 00173 Rome, Italy
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-07-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2014-0049

Abstract

The data-set of the casualties of terrorist attacks in the Years of Lead in Italy is analyzed in order to empirically test theoretical open issues about terrorist activity. The first is whether Richardson’s law holds true when the scale is narrowed down from global to only one epoch of domestic terrorism in a single country. It is found that the power law is a plausible model. Then, the distribution of the inter-arrival times between two consecutive strikes is investigated, finding (weaker) indications that also for this parameter a power law is a plausible model and that this is the result of non-stationary dynamics of terrorist activity. The implications of this finding on the models available today for explaining a power law in the severity of attacks are then discussed. The paper also highlights the counter-intuitive implications that a power law distribution of the waiting times has for a State inferring the time to the next strike from the observation of the time already elapsed since the previous one. Further, it is shown how the analysis of the inter-arrival times provides estimates about the temporal evolution of terrorist strength that can help discriminating among competing hypotheses derived from qualitative analysis. Finally, a simplified mathematical model of the policy decision-making process is constructed to show how the nature of power laws biases the prioritizing of the policy agenda and the consequent allocation of resources to concurring issues. It is shown how the bias causes systematical relative underfunding of policy issues whose severity follows a power law distribution and that this trend is likely to persist until a major event will reverse the behavior of the decision-maker, then causing relative overfunding.

Keywords: Richardson’s law; power law; terrorism

References

  • AIVITER, (2013), Associazione Italiana Vittime del Terrorismo. 2013. Available at http://www.vittimeterrorismo.it/mappa.htm (Accessed December 3).

  • Berardi, A., (2008), Il diritto e il terrore alle radici teoriche della finalità del terrorismo, CEDAM Publisher, Padua.Google Scholar

  • Caruso, R., Schneider, F., (2011), The Socio-Economic Determinants of Terrorism and Political Violence in Western Europe (1994-2007), European Journal of Political Economy, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 37–49.Google Scholar

  • Caruso, R., Schneider, F., (2013), Brutality of Jihadist Terrorism. A Contest Theory Perspective and Empirical Evidence in the Period 2002-2010. 2013, Journal of Policy Modeling, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 685–696.Google Scholar

  • Cioffi-Revilla, C., (2012), A Complexity Method for Assessing Counterterrorism Policies, in Lum, C., Kennedy, L.W., (eds.), Evidence-Based Counterterrorism Policy, Springer, New York, pp. 151–166.Google Scholar

  • Cioffi-Revilla, C., Romero, P.P., (2009), Modeling Uncertainty in Adversary Behavior: Attacks in Diyala Province, Iraq, 2002-2006, Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 253–276.Google Scholar

  • Classified author’s name, (2005), I percorsi dell’ideologia BR: 1° e 2°. Gnosis: rivista italiana di intelligence (Journal of the Italian Domestic Intelligence Agency). Available at: http://gnosis.aisi.gov.it/Gnosis/Rivista2.nsf/servnavig/7 (accessed mars 2015).

  • Clauset, A., Gleditsch, K.S., (2012), The Developmental Dynamics of Terrorist Organizations, PLoS One, vol. 7, no. 11, pp. e48633.Google Scholar

  • Clauset, A., Wiegel, F.W., (2010), A Generalized Aggregation-Disintegration Model for the Frequency of Severe Terrorist Attacks, Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 179–197.Google Scholar

  • Clauset, A., Young, M., (2005), Scale Invariance in Global Terrorism, Preprint, arxiv: physics/0502014 (accessed February 3, 2005).Google Scholar

  • Clauset, A., Young, M., Gleditsch, K.S., (2007), On the Frequency of Severe Terrorist Events, Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 58–88.Google Scholar

  • Clauset, A., Shalizi, C.R., Newman, M.E.J., (2009), Power-Law Distributions In Empirical Data, SIAM Review, vol. 51, no. 4, pp. 661–703.Google Scholar

  • Clauset, A., Young, M., Gleditsch, K.S., (2010), A Novel Explanation of the Power-Law Form of the Frequency of Severe Terrorist Events: Reply to Saperstein, Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, vol. 16, Article 12.Google Scholar

  • Cronin, A.K., (2009), How Terrorism Ends. Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar

  • Davis, P.M., Jackson, D.D., Kagan, Y.Y., (1989), The Longer it has been Since the Last Earthquake, The Longer the Expected Time till the Next?, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 79, pp. 1439–1456.Google Scholar

  • de Graaf, B., (2011), Evaluating Counterterrorism Performance: A Comparative Study, Rutledge, New York.Google Scholar

  • Della Porta, D., (1995), Social Movements, Political Violence, and The State: A Comparative Analysis of Italy and Germany. Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.Google Scholar

  • Della Porta, D., (2013), Clandestine Political Violence, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.Google Scholar

  • Dugan, L., LaFree, G., Piquero, A. (2005), Testing a Rational Choice Model of Airline Hijackings, Criminology, vol. 43, pp. 1031–1066.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Engene, J.O., (2007), Five Decades of Terrorism in Europe: the TWEED Dataset, Journal of Peace Research, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 109–121.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Epstein, J.M., (2002), Modeling Civil Violence: An Agent Based Computational Approach, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 99, no. 10–3, pp. 7243–7250.Google Scholar

  • Gabaix, X., (2009), Power Law in Economics and Finance, Annual Review of Economics, vol. 1, pp. 255–294.Google Scholar

  • Gaibulloev, K., Sandler, T., (2008), Growth Consequences of Terrorism in Western Europe, Kyklos, vol. 61, pp. 411–424.Google Scholar

  • Gaibulloev, K., Sandler, T., (2011), Terrorist Group Survival: Ideology, Tactics and Base Operations, Public Choice, vol. 149, no. 1–2, pp. 441–463.Google Scholar

  • Gaibulloev, K., Sandler, T., (2013), Determinants of the Demise of Terrorist Organizations, Southern Economic Journal, vol. 79, no. 4, pp. 774–792.Google Scholar

  • Gaibulloev, K., Sandler, T., (2014), An Empirical Analysis of Alternative Ways that Terrorist Groups End, Public Choice, vol. 160, no. 1–2, pp. 25–44.Google Scholar

  • Gupta, D.K., Mundra, K., (2005), Suicide Bombings as a Strategic Weapon: An Empirical Investigation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Terrorism and Political Violence, vol. 17, pp. 573–598.Google Scholar

  • Heuer, R., (1999), The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, Center of the study of Intelligence. Available at: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/psychology-of-intelligence-analysis/ (Last accessed: March 2015).

  • Jervis, R., (1976), Perception and Misperception in International Politics, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar

  • Johnson, N.F., Spagat, M., Restrepo, J., Bohorquez, J., Suarez, N., Restrepo, E., Zarama, R., (2005), From Old Wars to New Wars and Global Terrorism, Preprint arxiv.org/abs/physics/0506213 (Last accessed: June 26, 2015).

  • Johnson, N.F., Spagat, M., Restrepo, J.A., Becerra, O., Bohorquez, J.C., Suarez, N., Restrepo, E.M., Zaeama, R. (2006), Universal Patterns Underlying Ongoing Wars and Terrorism, Preprint http://arXiv:physics/0605035 (accessed November 2, 2014).

  • Johnson, N., Carran, S., Botner, J., Fontaine, K., Laxague, N., et al. (2011), Patterns in Escalations in Insurgent and Terrorist Activity, Science, vol. 333, pp. 81–84.Google Scholar

  • LaFree, G., (2012), Generating Terrorism Event Databases: Results from the Global Terrorism Database, in Lum, C., Kennedy, V.B., (eds.), Evidence-based Counterterrorism Policy, Springer, New York, pp. 41–64.Google Scholar

  • LaFree, G., Dugan, L., Korte, R., (2009), The Impact of British Counter Terrorist Strategies on Political Violence in Northern Ireland: Comparing Deterrence and Backslash Models, Criminology, vol. 47, pp. 17–45.Google Scholar

  • Lanchester, F.W., (1914), Aircraft in Warfare: The dawn of the Fourth Arm – No. 5, The Principles of Concentration. Engineering, 98, reprinted in World of Mathematics, Newman, J.R., (ed.), Vol. IV, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1956, pp. 2138–2159.Google Scholar

  • Lum, C., Kennedy, L.W., (eds.) (2012), Evidence-Based Counterterrorism Policy, Springer, New York.Google Scholar

  • Malevergne, Y., (2014), Les risques extrêmes, in Tannery, F., Martinet, A.-C., Hafsi, T., Denis, J.-P. (eds.), Encyclopédie de la Stratégie. Vuibert, Paris.Google Scholar

  • Memon, N., Farley, J.D., Hicks, D.L., Rosenorn, T., (eds.) (2009), Mathematical Methods in Counterterrorism, Springer, New York.Google Scholar

  • Mitzenmacher, M., (2003), A Brief History of Generative Models for Power Law and Lognormal Distributions, Internet Mathematics, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 226–251.Google Scholar

  • Newman, M.E.J., (2005), Power Laws, Pareto Distributions and Zipf’s Law, Contemporary Physics, vol. 46, no. 5, pp. 323–351.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Orsini, A., Nodes, S.J. (2011), Anatomy of the Red Brigades. The Religious Mind-Set of Modern Terrorists, Cornell University Press, New York and London.Google Scholar

  • Page, E.S., (1954), Continuous Inspection Schemes, Biometrika, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 100–115.Google Scholar

  • Porter, M.D., White, G., Mezerolle, L., (2012), Innovative Methods for Terrorism and Counterterrorism Data, in Lum, C., Kennedy, L.W. (eds.), Evidence-based Counterterrorism Policy, Springer, New York, pp. 91–112.Google Scholar

  • Quirico, S., (2008), Il modello organizzativo delle Brigate rosse in una prospettiva comparata. 2008, Quaderno di storia contemporanea, vol. 31, no. 44, pp. 61–88.Google Scholar

  • Reed, W.J., Hughes, B.D., (2002), From Gene Families and Genera to Incomes and Internet File Sizes: Why Power Laws are So Common in Nature, Physical Review E, vol. 66, Article 067103.Google Scholar

  • Richardson, L.F., (1948), Variation of the Frequency of Fatal Quarrels with Magnitude, Journal of the American Statistical Association, vol. 43, pp. 523–546.Google Scholar

  • Richardson, L.F., (1960), Statistics of Deadly Quarrels, Boxwood Press, Pittsburg, PA.Google Scholar

  • Sandler, T., (2014), The Analytical Study of Terrorism: Taking Stock, Journal of Peace Research, vol. 51, no. 2, pp. 257–271.Google Scholar

  • Sandler, T., (2015), Terrorism and Counterterrorism: An Overview, Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford, UK, pp. 1–20.Google Scholar

  • Saperstein, A.M., (2008), Mathematical Modeling of the Interaction Between Terrorism and Counter-terrorism and Its Policy Implications, Complexity, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 45–49.Google Scholar

  • Saperstein, A.M., (2010a), A Comment on the Power Law Relation Between Frequency and Severity of Terrorist Attacks, Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, vol. 16, article 7.Google Scholar

  • Saperstein, A.M., (2010b), Why do Terrorists Attacks Satisfy a Scaling Law? Forum on Physics and Society of the American Physics Society. Available online at: http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/201010/saperstein.cfm (accessed 10 December 2014).

  • Shapiro, N.J., Darken, R.P., (2013), Homeland Security: A New Strategic Paradigm? in Baylis, J., Wirtz, J.J., Gray, C.S., (eds.), Strategy in the Contemporary World, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 267–285.Google Scholar

  • Sheehan, I.S., (2012), Assessing and Comparing Data Sources for Terrorism Research, in Lum, C., Kennedy, L.W. (eds.), Evidence-based Counterterrorism Policy, Springer, New York, pp. 13–40.Google Scholar

  • Sornette, D., Knopoff, L., (1997), The Paradox of the Expected Time Until the Next Earthquake, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 87, no. 4, pp. 789–798.Google Scholar

  • START, (2013), Global terrorism database, national consortium for the study of terrorism and responses to terror (START). Available at http://www.start.umd.edu/start/data/tops/ (accessed October 2013).

  • Taylor, J.G., (1983), Lanchester Models of Warfare, Arlington, VA, Operations Research Society of American, Military Applications Section, 2 volumes.Google Scholar

  • Valla, T., Fedorov, A.V., Johnson, P., Wells, B.O., Humbert, S.L., (1999), Evidence for Quantum Critical Behavior in the Optimally Doped Cuprate Bi2Sr2CaCu2O8+Δ, Science, vol. 285, no. 5436, pp. 2110–2113.Google Scholar

About the article

Corresponding author: Marco Marcovina, PhD, E-mail:

aMarco Marcovina, PhD from Politecnico di Torino. He is currently employee of the ANFR (Agence Nationale des Fréquences) in Brest, France. He conducted this research in his own capacity. This research is not related to his current employment, nor in any ways represents the views of his employer.


Published Online: 2015-07-20

Published in Print: 2015-08-01


Citation Information: Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, Volume 21, Issue 3, Pages 351–389, ISSN (Online) 1554-8597, ISSN (Print) 1079-2457, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2014-0049.

Export Citation

©2015 by De Gruyter.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in