Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Jerry Daday (Director),Dr. James Kanan,Dr. Paul Wozniak

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


To expand the research base concerning terrorism this study connects terrorist incidents on a global scale with economic and noneconomic institutional factors. Whereas most terrorism studies use social disorganization theory or anomie theory as their theoretical bases, this study uses institutional anomie theory (IAT) to examine the influence of economic and noneconomic institutions on terrorist-incident counts in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. The research employs the following five sources that are linked together: The Global Terrorism Database (GTD), World Bank Database, data from the University of Texas Inequality Project (UTIP), the United Nations (UN), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Regression models examine the influence of inequality on counts of terrorist incidents for the decades of 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s net of controls. OLS models also examine the extent to which the influence of inequality on terrorist-incident counts is mediated by the strength of the noneconomic institutional structures of health care and the family. Results from ordinary least squares regression analyses show that for the time period of 1970 to 1979 there was a nonsignificant, negative association between inequality and terrorist-incident counts and neither health care nor number of divorces was a mediating factor. For the time period 1980 to 1989 a significant, positive association existed between inequality and terrorist incident counts, supporting the hypothesis that countries with higher levels of inequality will have higher counts of terrorist-incident counts. However, in the 1980s neither health care nor family mediated the effects of inequality on terrorist-incident counts. For the time period 1990 to 1997 a statistically significant, positive association was found between inequality and terrorist-incident counts as well as successful mediation by health care on the effects of inequality on terrorist-incident counts, which supports the hypothesis that the influence of inequality on terrorist-incident counts will be mediated by noneconomic institutional structures. Implications of these findings are discussed.


Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change | Sociology