Counterterrorism strategies in the lab

Daniel G. Arce, Sneha Bakshi, Rachel T.A. Croson, Catherine C. Eckel, Enrique Fatas, Malcolm Kass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We conduct experiments to test the collective action dilemmas associated with defensive and proactive counterterror strategies. Defensive policies are associated with creating public 'bads' (e. g., a commons) whereas proactive policies are akin to the voluntary provision of public goods. When combined, the inefficiency of collective action is exacerbated, resulting in a situation known as a Prisoner's Dilemma squared (PD2). Deterministic versus probabilistic equivalent versions of the associated externalities are compared within a laboratory setting. Experimental results reveal that the collective action problem associated with counterterror strategies is deepened in uncertain environments, and is indeed a robust regularity that is not easily overcome; as individuals gain more experience, they become even more self-interested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-478
Number of pages14
JournalPublic Choice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Collective action
  • Commons game
  • Counterterror policy
  • Lab experiment
  • Prisoner's Dilemma

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