Alternatives to punishment: Counterterrorism strategies in Algeria

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Lesniewicz, Amber Lee Stoesser
LaFree, Gary D
Rational choice theory has been one of the key theories used to explain the effectiveness of counterterrorism policies (Dugan, LaFree & Piquero, 2005; Enders & Sandler, 1993; 2003; Frey, 2004; LaFree, Dugan & Korte, 2009). These investigations have examined policies focused on increasing the costs of committing political violence, such as criminalization, increased police presence, and government strikes. However, few investigations have looked at policies that increase the benefits of not committing political violence such as negotiations and amnesties. In this study, I investigate the effectiveness of counterterrorism policies that seek to increase the benefits of not committing terrorism. I use Algeria as a case study and examine three counterterrorism policies between 1994 and 2004. One of the policies is a traditionally deterrent policy that increases the consequences of committing terrorism while the two other policies represent alternatively deterrent policies that increase the benefits of not committing terrorism. To analyze these policies, I use ARIMA modeling (N=120 months) and the Global Terrorism Database to determine whether each policy led to a significant change in overall attacks and the proportion of fatal attacks. While researchers have found mixed results when studying the effectives of traditional deterrence counterterrorist measures (Dugan, LaFree & Piquero; Enders & Sandler, 1993; Enders, Sandler & Cauley, 1990; LaFree, Dugan & Korte, 2009), I found that the Civil Concord Act, an amnesty program, as well as the Rome Platform, a negotiation policy, were related to a significant reduction in terrorism in Algeria.