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Internally Displaced Populations and Suicide Terrorism


Journal of Conflict Resolution

Published online on


This study asserts that countries with large internally displaced populations (IDPs) are more likely to experience a higher rate of suicide terrorism. After demonstrating this, the study tests four intervening factors hypothesized to drive the relationship between IDPs and suicide attacks: IDPs are expected (1) to increase the pool of potential suicide recruits, thereby lowering the labor costs for suicide terrorist groups; (2) to increase local ethnic conflicts that foster a favorable environment for suicide terrorism; (3) to worsen the human rights conditions in countries, prompting aggrieved people to support suicide terrorist tactics; and (4) to raise the counterterrorism and policing costs of the state, enabling terrorists to plan and execute suicide attacks. Results from negative binomial regression and Tobit models show evidence for the IDPs-suicide terrorism connection. When recursive models are employed to evaluate the effects of four intervening variables, the results most consistently support human rights violations as a significant and substantive mediator between IDPs and suicide attacks.