DP10082 | Weapons of Choice

Publication Date

27/07/2014

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Abstract

We investigate the effect of natural resources on whether ethno-political groups choose to pursue their goals with peaceful as compared to violent means, distinguishing terrorism from insurgencies. We hypothesize that organizations are more likely to resort to terrorism rather than rebellion in richer countries where population mobilization is more difficult. We use data from the Minorities at Risk Organizational Behavior (MAROB) project, covering 118 organizations in 13 countries of the Middle East and North Africa over the 1980-2004 period. Our multinomial logit models combine group- and country-specific information and show that ethno-political groups are more likely to resort to rebellion rather than using peaceful means or becoming terrorists when representing regions rich in oil. Groups that participate in exerting power over their region are less likely to turn to large-scale violence.