A few years back Claude Berrebi and I attended a conference on terrorism at UC San Diego, and got to talking about the differences between countries that experience civil war and countries that experience terrorism. This discussion prompted Claude to brink up a pattern he’d observed. “You know Barb,” he said, “weak, poor states tend to be the target of civil wars. Rich, strong states tend to be the target of terrorism.”
So our puzzler today is this: Assuming this pattern is true (and we welcome any evidence that it is), why are different types of countries targeted with different types of violence?