№ 2, 2020
Although many scholarly works have already been devoted to the influence of Internet technologies and social media on protest activity, their impact on the intensity of terrorist attacks has not yet been studied. To fill the gap, N.Khokhlov and A.Korotayev analyzed the relationship between the spread of the Internet and the number of terrorist attacks. The authors hypothesized that an increase in the number of Internet users in autocracies should be positively related to the intensity of terrorist attacks — this is because when political regime controls media, it is the Internet that opens up opportunities for the rapid and wide dissemination of information about terrorist attacks. In countries with democratic or hybrid regimes, where at least part of the media operates relatively freely, such connection should be absent. To test the hypothesis, the authors employed negative binomial regression models. The data were taken from the Global Terrorism Database and the World Bank database.
The study conducted by the authors partially confirmed their main hy- pothesis. The analysis of the empirical data showed that in autocracies the spread of the Internet indeed positively affects growth of the intensity of ter- rorist attacks, while in countries with democratic and hybrid political regimes such relationship is not significant. At the same time, the obtained results do not allow us to state that the revealed differences stem from the variation in the media environment under different types of political regimes. Testing this hypothesis requires further research and refinement of the research methods, in particular, shifting the focus to the level of individual regions, as well as stu- dying causal mechanisms using mixed methods and Bayesian statistics.
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