Economics of Warfare 19 – 1

Continuing with the nineteenth and second to last lecture from Professor Michael Spagat’s Economics of Warfare course that he gives at Royal Holloway University. It is posted on his blog Wars, Numbers and Human Losses at:

This lecture continues the discussion of terrorism, a subject we often deliberately avoid. We actually don’t even have a category for terrorism on the blog, in part because I consider it a tool of an insurgency, not a separate form of warfare.

On the first slide is a paper on the determinants of media attention for terrorist attacks. This is a significant subject as terrorism does rely on media attention to make their points. If there was no coverage……then the terrorist act would be relatively ineffective. The purpose of terrorism is not to kill people, it is to attract attention. Modern international terrorism started with the Palestinian Black September attack on the Munich Olympics in 1972, which turned the Palestinian issue from a Middle East concern into an issue that now garnered world wide attention.

Anyhow, the lecture starts with a paper by Michael Jetter, which is linked to on page 1 (one of the very nice things about this lecture series is that all the various papers he discusses are linked in the lecture…providing a extensive collection of interesting and useful papers to read). The question is “…why do some attacks generate more coverage than others do?” The answer is on slides 10 and 12, but the short answer is: attacks in wealthier countries, countries that trade with the U.S., that are closer to the U.S. get more coverage (in the New York Times).

Not sure how really meaningful this is except to note that obviously, terrorist attacks in Canada are going to get a lot more attention in the U.S. newspapers than terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.

Anyhow, this is going to turn into a two-part posting, so will do the rest later this week. The link to his lecture is here:


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Christopher A. Lawrence
Christopher A. Lawrence

Christopher A. Lawrence is a professional historian and military analyst. He is the Executive Director and President of The Dupuy Institute, an organization dedicated to scholarly research and objective analysis of historical data related to armed conflict and the resolution of armed conflict. The Dupuy Institute provides independent, historically-based analyses of lessons learned from modern military experience.
Mr. Lawrence was the program manager for the Ardennes Campaign Simulation Data Base, the Kursk Data Base, the Modern Insurgency Spread Sheets and for a number of other smaller combat data bases. He has participated in casualty estimation studies (including estimates for Bosnia and Iraq) and studies of air campaign modeling, enemy prisoner of war capture rates, medium weight armor, urban warfare, situational awareness, counterinsurgency and other subjects for the U.S. Army, the Defense Department, the Joint Staff and the U.S. Air Force. He has also directed a number of studies related to the military impact of banning antipersonnel mines for the Joint Staff, Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation.
His published works include papers and monographs for the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the Vietnam Veterans of American Foundation, in addition to over 40 articles written for limited-distribution newsletters and over 60 analytical reports prepared for the Defense Department. He is the author of Kursk: The Battle of Prokhorovka (Aberdeen Books, Sheridan, CO., 2015), America’s Modern Wars: Understanding Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam (Casemate Publishers, Philadelphia & Oxford, 2015), War by Numbers: Understanding Conventional Combat (Potomac Books, Lincoln, NE., 2017) , The Battle of Prokhorovka (Stackpole Books, Guilford, CT., 2019), The Battle for Kyiv (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2023), Aces at Kursk (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024), Hunting Falcon: The Story of WWI German Ace Hans-Joachim Buddecke (Air World, Yorkshire, UK, 2024) and The Siege of Mariupol (Frontline Books, Yorkshire, UK, 2024).
Mr. Lawrence lives in northern Virginia, near Washington, D.C., with his wife and son.

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