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Public perception of terrorism attacks: A conjoint experiment

In this article, Jaroslaw Kantorowicz, Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko and Gerdien de Vries make an important contribution to researching public perception of terrorist attacks, by measuring the importance the public assigns to various attributes of terrorist attacks.

Jaroslaw Kantorowicz, Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko and Gerdien de Vries
08 November 2023
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Using novel methodology (conjoint experiment) and survey data from the UK and The Netherlands (N = 6,315), the authors find that people are concerned with attacks by immigrants (in the Netherlands), and by individuals acting as part of a terror cell, and with jihadist motivation. Furthermore, past experience with specific terrorist tactics drive preference to address such attacks more than others. In both countries people strongly focus on the severity of attacks, and under-weigh probabilities. The terror attack in the Netherlands in 2019 provided an opportunity to examine perception right after an actual attack. The authors have found that people’s concerns are driven by experience with specific attacks. A better understanding of terrorism perception can inform policymakers about the gap between optimal strategies to combat terrorism and the expectations of the public.

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