Working Papers, Department of Economics, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 2002,22
Fundamentalist organizations and the terrorists they spawn do not arise of a vacuum. Combating terrorism requires understanding the principles of groups’ formation, development and growth. We use economic theory to explain the creation and development of fundamentalist groups. In this paper we develop a theory of fundamentalism and terrorism under which leaders compete to enhance the level of observance of their followers. Our model explains the existence of competing fundamentalist groups and the increase in their intensity over time. Competition among fundamentalists makes them more extreme and may lead to terrorist activity.