Transnational terrorist recruitment: Evidence from Daesh personnel records

Anne Brockmeyer, Quy-Toan Do, Clement Joubert, Kartika Bhatia, Mohamed Abdel Jelil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Global terrorist organizations attract radicalized individuals across borders and constitute a threat for both sending and receiving countries. We use unique personnel records from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Daesh) to show that unemployment in sending countries is associated with the number of transnational terrorist recruits from these countries. The relationship is spatially heterogeneous, which is most plausibly attributable to travel costs. We argue that poor labor market opportunities generally push more individuals to join terrorist organizations, but at the same time, limit their ability to do so when longer travel distances imply higher travel costs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1109
Number of pages18
JournalThe Review of Economics and Statistics
Issue number5
Early online date13 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023
Externally publishedYes

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© 2022 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The World Bank.


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