Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This dissertation constitutes of two distinct essays on the influence of terrorism on individual perception and belief formation. In the first study, using micro-level data from 32 European countries, we find that an increase in terrorist activities by foreign perpetrators instigates negative sentiments towards immigrants. But the intensity of this adverse impact of terrorism decreases with time. Additionally, our analysis reveals that the effect of terrorism varies across individuals depending on various socio-economic attributes. Terrorism has a stronger negative influence on the residents, if their own country hosts relatively larger number of migrants. Individuals are not affected by terrorist attacks that are carried out perpetrator(s) of the same nationality as the victim(s), or the ones that happened before he/she was interviewed. International terrorism has no impact on one's opinions regarding the LGBT rights, the Government's role in reducing income differences or even whether modern science is competent enough to solve environmental problems. In the second study, we examine how exposure to violent environment, like one created in the aftermath of terrorist attacks, influences an individual's trust in the effectiveness of institutions, such as the country’s parliament, the legal system, the police, the politicians, the political parties, the European Parliament, and the United Nations. We employ the variation in time of a series of terrorist attacks that occurred in between 2001 and 2017 in different European countries to study their effect on people's trust. Our results reveal that when an individual is exposed to terrorist attacks that result in human fatality or injury, his/her distrust in institutions significantly increases. But this effect is found to diminish with increasing temporal as well as spatial distance between an attack and an interview. Moreover, terrorism has less detrimental effect on residents of countries with relatively better institutional conditions.



Committee Chair

Mocan, H. Naci