The Global Law of Terror Organization Lifespan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study addresses the question of whether there is a global pattern of terror organization (TO) lifespan. Based on two datasets which include hundreds of organizations, we show that there is a global statistical law of TO lifespan distribution. This distribution describes populations of TOs in different contexts of periods, geographical locations, ideologies, etc. The data as a whole, as well as its subpopulations, seem to emerge from an exponential distribution, which is formulated as a mathematical model. This model enables the prediction of TOs’ global population decay rate. The findings were obtained by introducing a novel procedure, which formulates and validates this mathematical law for discrete empirical data. We suggest that human behavior generating informational cascades and a positive feedback loop, which influence the number of core members in a TO, may be the source of this global pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1636-1665
Number of pages30
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number8
StatePublished - 16 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Taylor & Francis.


  • Terror organizations
  • distribution
  • life span
  • longevity
  • survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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