A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus 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

The Nature of the Beast: Organizational Structures and the Lethality of Terrorist Attacks


The Nature of the Beast: Organizational Structures and the Lethality of Terrorist Attacks

Abstract: 
Why are some terrorist organizations so much more deadly then others? This article examines organizational characteristics such as ideology, size, age, state sponsorship, alliance connections, and control of territory while controlling for factors that may also influence lethality, including the political system and relative wealth of the country in which the organization is based. Using data from the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism’s Terrorism Knowledge Base(TKB), we use a negative binomial model of organizational lethality, finding that organizational size, ideology, territorial control, and connectedness are important predictors of lethality while state sponsorship, organizational age, and host country characteristics are not.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Asal, Victor H., and R. Karl Rethemeyer. 2008. "The Nature of the Beast: Organizational Structures and the Lethality of Terrorist Attacks." The Journal of Politics 70 (April): 437-449. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/full/10.1017/S0022381608080419

Publication URL: 
Visit Website