Rational choice approaches to reducing terrorist violence would suggest raising the costs of terrorism through punishment, thereby reducing the overall expected utility of terrorism. In this article, we argue that states should also consider raising the expected utility of abstaining from terrorism through rewards. We test effects of repressive (or punishing) and conciliatory (or rewarding) actions on terrorist behavior using the newly developed GATE-Israel dataset, which identifies events by Israeli state actors toward Palestinian targets on a full range of counterterrorism tactics and policies from 1987 to 2004. Results show that repressive actions are either unrelated to terror or related to subsequent increases in terror, and conciliatory actions are generally related to decreases in terror, depending on the tactical period. Findings also reveal the importance of understanding the role of terrorists’ constituencies for reducing violence.
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