Friday, April 18, 2008

An important new paper

"Reassessing the Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism"

"In 'The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism,' Robert Pape presents an analysis of
his suicide terrorism data. He uses the data to draw inferences about how territorial
occupation and religious extremism afect the decision of terrorist groups to use
suicide tactics. We show that the data are incapable of supporting Pape's conclusions
because he 'samples on the dependent variable.' (The data only contains cases in
which suicide terror is used.) We construct bounds (Manski, 1995) on the quantities
relevant to Pape's hypotheses and show exactly how little can be learned about the
relevant statistical associations from the data produced by Pape's research design."