A Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Competition, Differentation, and the Severity of Terrorist Attacks

Competition, Differentation, and the Severity of Terrorist Attacks


A wide range of literature on ethnic conflict and terrorism has argued that domestic competition increases the likelihood that a political organization will use violence in an effort to distinguish itself. Known as “outbidding,” empirical evidence for such a phenomenon has thus far been limited. The bulk of the empirical analysis, however, has focused on the effect of domestic competition on the quantity of violence. This study instead argues that competition should have an observable effect on the quality of violence, as organizations seek to differentiate their “brand” from others. Using information on the tactics and targets of terrorist attacks, the results suggest that an increase in the competitiveness of a political market leads to more severe or “shocking” types of attacks.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Conrad, Justin and Kevin Greene. 2015. "Competition, Differentation, and the Severity of Terrorist Attacks." The Journal of Politics 77 (April): 546-561. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/680262?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Publication URL: 
Visit Website