Nation of Beancounters

So why does Hamas fire rockets in the first place?

Posted in On The Contrary by Navin Kumar on November 22, 2012

The recent – according to many disproportionate and unjust – response of Israel to rockets fired by Hamas brings up an interesting question: why does Hamas antagonize the much stronger Israel? I’m not taking a stand on whether it should or it shouldn’t – but how is it a rational (as opposed to “good” or “bad”) thing to do?

A paper from Eric Gould and Esteban Klor has an answer. From the abstract:

This paper examines whether terrorism is an effective tool to achieve political goals. By exploiting geographic variation in terror attacks in Israel from 1988 to 2006, we show that local terror attacks cause Israelis to be more willing to grant territorial concessions to the Palestinians … However, terror attacks beyond a certain threshold cause Israelis to adopt a less-accommodating position…

The paper is provocatively titled “Does Terrorism Work?” Clearly, Hamas has crossed a threshold this year. I find this article  useful for understanding differing views.

BONUS: Here are papers on terrorism from some of my favorite GMU bloggers: Bryan Caplan, Tyler Cowen and Robin Hanson. I have not read them yet.

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