THE SIZE OF TERROR Linking Inequality, Ideology and Corruption to the Membership of Terrorist Groups
The aim of this thesis is to investigate the effect of economic inequality on the size of terrorist groups. While several scholars have examined the impact of inequality on the number of ter-rorist attacks, as well as on other types of political violence, its influence on the membership of terrorist organizations has not been explored yet. Furthermore, I also analyze how left-wing group ideology and political corruption moderate, or shape, that relationship, which also con-stitutes a novelty to the academic literature on inequality and terrorism. In order to investigate these connections, I conduct a quantitative large-N study using a multilevel cumulative logit model. With regard to my data sources, I mainly rely on the End-of-Terror data set by Jones and Libicki (2008), which holds information on 648 terrorist groups that were active between 1968 and 2008. In addition to that, I also draw further data from other sources, such as the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID). The empirical analysis does not yield any significant connection between economic inequality and the size of terrorist groups. The same holds true regarding the moderating effect of political corruption. In contrast to that, I find a significant positive interaction effect between inequality and left-wing ideology on the membership of terrorist organizations. This indicates that higher levels of inequality rather cause people to join leftist terrorist groups than groups with other ideologies. These results are consistent across different model specifications and robustness checks, which further verifies the findings.