No, Punitive House Demolition Does Not Reduce Suicide Bombing: Revisiting Evidence from the Second Intifada.

This research revisits the work of Benmelech et al (2015) that shows punitive house demolition reduced suicide bombings during the Second Intifada and cite deterrence as the driving factor. I show that their finding is a product of misspecified modeling and that the reported effect of punitive house demolition camouflages confounding factors. Once their empirical modeling is corrected, the estimated effect of punitive house demolition is downsized to zero. I also show that out of multiple security measures, arrest campaigns negatively impacted suicide bombings. I provide suggestive evidence that explains individual motives for suicide bombings and why punitive house demolition lacks a deterrence effect. The motives are likely related to the aggravation of grievances from excessive state oppression, willingness to exact revenge, and the glorification of self-sacrifice and martyrdom in asymmetric conflict.

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