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Explaining Changes in Counterterrorism Practices

Full title

Explaining Changes in Counterterrorism Practices: Motivations and Timing

Project description

Terrorism destabilizes governments, undermines civil society, threatens social and economic development, endangers democracy, and directly impacts human rights. The extraordinary events on 9/11 turned counterterrorism into a global governance project. The global collaboration is unprecedented with traditional rivals working together as key stakeholders against shared threats. The collaboration has not created invariable, coherent, or fully harmonized counterterrorism and there remains significant variation in practices across countries and over time. This project investigates patterns in the timing of changes in counterterrorism practices and aims to develop a theory of competing motivations that results in various forms of counterterrorism cooperation and global governance. We examine four possible motivations behind the adoption of counterterrorism practices across countries over time: 1) strategic reaction to increased threat level, 2) pressures from hegemonic countries, 3) capture foreign aid earmarked for security and military improvements, and 4) consolidate power against political rivals, thereby allowing for increasing authoritarianism in a time of global democratic backsliding. This project creates an unprecedented cross-national counterterrorism dataset that captures a diverse set of legal and institutional changes to examine these competing motivations for changes in counterterrorism practices. 

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