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Explaining Civilian Attacks: Terrorist Networks, Principal-Agent Problems and Target Selection

Topics: Terrorism,

This study analyzes the network relationships between terrorist groups in order to better understand their targeting criteria. This piece predicts that lower level affiliates will be significantly more likely than their parent group to attack civilian targets, based on empirical data and organizational ecology. The author asserts that the original principal-agent theory consistently outperforms persisting explanations in a multi-method analysis of 238 terrorist groups from 1998 to 2005.

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