We interpret the emergence of Jihadist terrorism in the light of contest theory. Al Qaeda may be portrayed as a contest organizer, providing a ‘prize’ to the best terrorist group. Each group maximizes its probability of winning by launching attacks more destructive than previous ones perpetrated by competing groups. This hypothesis is confirmed by the empirical analysis which shows that the number of victims of terrorist attacks increases compared to number of victims of previous attacks in the same country. An upward trend in terrorist brutality is the outcome of competition between groups. Results also show that Al Qaeda-style terrorism is associated with poverty and underprivileged socio-economic conditions.
- Negative Binomial regression