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Global terror, well-being and political attitudes

Journal article
Authors Alpaslan Akay
O. Bargain
A. Elsayed
Published in European Economic Review
Volume 123
ISSN 0014-2921
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Economics
Language en
Keywords Global terror, Subjective well-being, Media, Political attitudes, valuing public-goods, happiness, income, attacks, adaptation, utility, impact, policy, threat, market, Business & Economics
Subject categories Economics and Business


A growing literature examines the impact of terror on subjective well-being, focusing mainly on specific events and their local consequences. In the present paper, we study the effect of global terror intensity on the life satisfaction of Western citizens. We leverage panel datasets for six countries that we combine with daily information on all the terror attacks in the world over 20 years. Terror diminishes individual subjective well-being globally and continually. Using high frequency data over the long-run also allows us to provide a rich heterogeneity analysis on the relevant dimensions of terror. The effect is particularly strong for events broadcasted on Western television, when respondents are physically or genetically close to the victims, or for individuals who feel more exposed (e.g. living in urban areas). For a subset of countries, we also study the impact of terror on political attitudes and find that global terror significantly increases the intention to vote for conservative parties. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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