Journal of Optimization Theory and Applications

, Volume 160, Issue 2, pp 679–702 | Cite as

Terrorists’ Eradication Versus Perpetual Terror War



We study an infinite-horizon sequential dynamic game where the players are a government and an international terrorist organization. We provide conditions for the existence of equilibria in which the terrorists’ resources are totally destroyed by a government’s strike. Specifically, we study strong eradication equilibria in which the government’s strike annihilates the terrorists’ resources, preventing the terrorists from acting. We also pay attention to weak eradication equilibria in which the terrorists’ resources are destroyed but in which the initial value of the terrorists’ strike is nevertheless positive. We also show the existence of an equilibrium in which war is perpetual between the government and the terrorists. Perpetual war can only coexist with weak eradication equilibria. For these cases, we provide conditions under which the government would be better off in a weak eradication equilibrium.


Differential games Counterterror measures Nash equilibrium 



We thank Susan Crettez and Emmanuela Carbonara for helpful remarks and two referees for stimulating comments on a previous version of this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire d’économie du droit, ERMES EA 4441Panthéon-Assas University, Paris IIParisFrance

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