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The Labor Market and Terrorism


Studies in Conflict & TerrorismJournal abstract

Using six years of data (2011–16) drawn from the Global Terrorism Database and from other sources for 127 countries, a pooled cross-sectional time-series research design is employed to investigate whether the health of a country's labor market influences the number of terrorist incidents a country experiences. Results show a strong negative relationship between labor force participation and the frequency of terrorist incidents. Neither the youth unemployment rate nor the unemployment rate has a notable influence on predicting acts of terrorism. Findings also reveal that the percent of a country's population living in urban areas does not condition the relationship between labor force participation and terrorism. The observed effect of labor force participation has methodological consequences for how a country's labor market ought to be conceptualized in future research studies on terrorism. Such a finding also has relevant policy implications because it suggests that greater attention should be directed at devising ways for countries to enhance employment opportunities not only to improve economic conditions, but also to assist in the reduction of terrorism.

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