Terrorism

Terrorism can lead to social, political or economic consequences that go far beyond the direct harm they cause. When a mishap occurs, it has a number of direct and often immediate effects. For example, there are economic costs of responding to the disaster and there is an emotional response on the part of the public. However, these direct effects put into motion indirect effects that may first amplify public response and then dampen public reaction. For example, fear may heighten the perceived risk and in the short run avoidance of the impacted areas. This prompts more media coverage, which increases negative emotions. These heightened concerns translate into long-term economic consequences principally through decreases in the consumption of goods associated with the affected area, increased demands for higher wages to work in these areas, and higher expected rates of returns by business people to invest in the impacted region. However, if communities are prepared to respond to disasters they can decrease perceived risk directly by actually reducing the risk and indirectly through the use of risk communication that bolsters public confidence. This prompts the public to engage in risk-reducing activities (e.g. sheltering in place, taking antibiotics, evacuating certain disaster zones), which decreases perceived risk. Our research focuses on understanding the social amplification of risk from terrorism and devising methods for estimating the effects and combating them.

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