Perspectives on Terrorism is an initiative of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. Visit website
VOL. X, Issue 5

Patterns of Collective Desistance from Terrorism: Fundamental Measurement Challenges

To better understand why perpetrator organizations desist from terrorist violence, we must first understand how perpetrator organizations desist from terrorist violence. Here, I aim to improve our empirical understanding of patterns of collective desistance from terrorism in support of a robust research agenda to advance theory and policy on this topic. I discuss two key challenges for empirical analysis of collective desistance from terrorism: operationalization of perpetrator organizations, and operationalization of collective desistance. To illustrate these challenges, I leverage more than 40 years of event data from the Global Terrorism Database among organizations that carried out terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2013. Using descriptive statistics, I critically evaluate the implications of large-N analyses and illustrate their strengths and limitations.

About ICCT

The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is a think-and-do tank based in The Hague, Netherlands. We provide research, policy advice, training and other solutions to support better counter-terrorism policies and practices worldwide. We also contribute to the scientific and publi.…