When Does Terror Induce a State of Emergency? And What Are the Effects?

Reprint No. 2020:21

Author(s): Christian Bjørnskov and Stefan VoigtYear: 2020 Title: Journal of Conflict Resolution Volume (No.): 64 (4) Pages: 579–613
Online article (restrictions may apply)

When Does Terror Induce a State of Emergency? And What Are the Effects? Christian Bjørnskov and Stefan Voigt

The relationship between terrorist activities and states of emergency has never been explored in a cross-country perspective. This article is a first step to change that. Given that a terror act has been committed, what are the factors that lead governments to declare a state of emergency (SOE)—or refrain from declaring it? And given that a SOE has been declared, what are the effects thereof? On the basis of seventy-nine countries all having Western-style constitutions, we find that more terrorist incidents increase the likelihood of a SOE. Interestingly, emergencies are less likely to be declared in election years, supposedly because governments believe them to be unpopular. Once a SOE is declared, it generally leads to substantially more government repression. Finally, countries already under a SOE are more likely to suffer from additional terror attacks, challenging the effectiveness of states of emergency.

Bjørnskov, Christian and Stefan Voigt (2020), "When Does Terror Induce a State of Emergency? And What Are the Effects?". Journal of Conflict Resolution 64(4), 579–613.

Christian Bjørnskov


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