Examining deterrence and backlash effects in counter-terrorism: the case of ETA

Javier Argomaniz*, Alberto Vidal-Diez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Scholars are increasingly drawing on models and theories from the field of Criminology to offer new insights on terrorist violence. A particularly useful framework by LaFree, Dugan, and Korte works from the assumption that illegal behaviour can be affected by the threat and/or imposition of punishment. It sees the results of the government's intervention in terms of deterrence (state's repressive action leads to a reduction in terrorism violence), and backlash (state's repressive action leads to defiance and retaliation, and to an upsurge of terrorism violence). This article applies this model to a case study of the government's responses to Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA). It uses a variation of survival analysis technique -Series Hazard- to assess the impact of six major initiatives on the risk of new ETA attacks in the period from 1977 to 2010. Mostly, the results provide support for both backlash interpretations, although important questions regarding interpretation are raised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-181
Number of pages22
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number1
Early online date9 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Backlash
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Criminology
  • Deterrence
  • Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA)
  • Series Hazard
  • Terrorism
  • ETA
  • Deterrance
  • Impact


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