Can regulations stop terrorism?

Source: EconLog
by Alberto Mingardi

“In an earlier post, I made the point that over-regulation would not greatly affect terrorist behaviour. My understanding is that engaging in a terrorist act, particularly a suicidal terrorist act, involves such a commitment that it would easily override existing bans or regulations, as the terrorist sets to put his (as terrorists are almost invariably young males) will into practice. Commentators seem not to agree with me very much, and they raised some interesting points. JFA, in particular, argues that ‘a person decides to participate given the costs and benefits’ and therefore ‘if those costs are raised, those marginal terrorists will not commit the act.’ JFA strikes a point, alluding to the fact libertarians are all too eager to abandon the economic way of thinking when they want to defend their preference for little or no regulation. And yet I would propose the opposite may be true too …” (08/22/17)