The Politics of Militancy: Evidence from Pakistan



Jon Krosnick,

Date and Time

February 18, 2010 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Reuben W. Hills Conference Room

FSI Contact

Justin C. Liszanckie

Combating militant violence-particularly within South Asia and the Middle East-stands at the top of the international security agenda. Despite the extensive literature on the determinants of political attitudes, little is known about who supports militant organizations and why. To address this gap we conducted a 6000-person, nationally-representative survey of Pakistanis that measures affect towards four important militant organizations. We apply a novel measurement strategy to mitigate social desirability bias and item non-response, which plagued previous surveys due to the sensitive nature of militancy. Our study reveals key patterns of support for militancy. First, Pakistanis exhibit negative affect toward all four militant organizations, with those from areas where groups have been most active disliking them the most. Second, personal religiosity does not predict support, although views about what constitutes jihad do. Third, wealthy Pakistanis and those who support core democratic rights are more supportive of militant organizations than others. Longstanding arguments tying support for violent political organizations to individuals' economic prospects or attitudes towards democracy-and the subsequent policy recommendations-may require substantial revision.

Jacob N. Shapiro is Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. His primary research interests are the organizational aspects of terrorism, insurgency, and security policy. Shapiro’s ongoing projects study the causes of support for militancy in Islamic countries and the relationship between aid and political violence. His research has been published in International Security, International Studies Quarterly, Foreign Policy, Military Operations Research, and a number of edited volumes. Shapiro co-directs the Empirical Studies of Conflict Project. He is a member of the editorial board of World Politics, is a former Harmony Fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy, and served in the U.S. Navy and Naval Reserve. Ph.D. Political Science, M.A. Economics, Stanford University. B.A. Political Science, University of Michigan.

Jon Krosnick received a B.A. degree in psychology from Harvard University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in social psychology from the University of Michigan.

Prior to joining the Stanford faculty in 2004, Dr. Krosnick was professor of psychology and political science at Ohio State University, where he was a member of the OSU Political Psychology Program and co-directed the OSU Summer Institute in Political Psychology.

He has taught courses on survey methodology around the world at universities, for corporations, and for government agencies, including at IBM, Pfizer, the National Opinion Research Center, RTI International, the White House Office of Management and Budget, Total Research Corporation, the American Society of Trial Consultants, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. General Accounting Office, the Office for National Statistics, London, UK, the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Johannesburg, the Australian Market and Social Research Society's Professional Development Program, and ZUMA (in Mannheim, Germany). He has provided expert testimony in court and has served as an on-air election-night television commentator.

Dr. Krosnick has served as a consultant to such organizations as Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the CBS Office of Social Research, ABC News, the National Institutes of Health, Home Box Office, NASA, the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the Internal Revenue Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, and Google.

From 2005 through 2009, he is Principal Investigator of the American National Election Studies.

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