The Size of Terror Organizations: Poverty and Economic Inequality as Mobilizing Forces

Shlomo O. Goldman, Smadar Noy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the relationships between poverty, economic inequality and joining to terror organizations. Based on the rational-economic model, differently, from previous studies, we focused on the organizational level. We hypothesized that in a poorer base country of operation and in a base country of operation in which the economic inequality is wider the likelihood of terror organizations to become larger (higher number of core activists) is higher. Using GDP per-capita and GINI index as proxies and several statistical methods we tested these hypotheses analyzing hundreds of terror organizations. The findings are that there are no robust relationships between poverty and economic inequality and the number of people who joined them. However, the likelihood of a larger terror organization–lifetime, defeat as the life-ending cause of the organization and political goal–regime change, found to be significantly related to the size of terror organizations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research was funded by Ashkelon Academic College.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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