Dealing with Terrorism: Stick or Carrot?

In This Review

Dealing with Terrorism: Stick or Carrot?

By Bruno S. Frey
Edward Elgar, 2004
200 pp. $75.00
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Frey, a Swiss economist, provides a systematic account of what economists and other social scientists have to say about the motivations for and dynamics of terrorism, largely in a "rational actor" framework in which all individuals-whether business officials, politicians, bureaucrats, police officers, or terrorists-are assumed to act in ways that benefit themselves and their causes. Terrorist groups typically have objectives and seek public support for those objectives. Frey argues that the existing approach to terrorism, almost exclusively through deterrence, is not alone likely to be effective. He urges a broader approach to limiting the impact of terrorism, by increasing the robustness of social institutions (so that terrorists recognize that their actions will cause less disruption and hence generate less publicity); providing economic alternatives to weaken the base of potential recruits; and engaging directly with terrorists to wean them away from their destructive actions. He also offers historical examples of broader strategies that have proved successful. This approach will seem too mechanical to some readers, but Frey provides a useful compilation of the arguments and evidence, pro and con, for various strategies for dealing with terrorism.