Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Political Science

Committee Chair

Christina Fattore

Committee Co-Chair

Erik Herron

Committee Member

Erik Herron

Committee Member

Mason Moseley

Committee Member

Robert Duval

Committee Member

Danielle Davidov


What are the most influential factors to the rise of terrorist groups in the developing world? From Nigeria to Indonesia, various groups have conducted devastating attacks, against fellow citizens and international visitors. Hendrix and Young (2014) find military capacity may encourage the use of terrorism while bureaucratic measures depress them. Further investigation into underlying catalysts for mobilization is required before we can explain the rise in activity of terrorist organizations in these regions. I expect as measures of military capacity increase that terrorism increases while increases in administrative capacity reduce terrorist activity. I also expect indirect factors such as repressive activity by the state increases terrorism while corrupt and clientelistic behavior in the state has a more complex, suppressing effect on terrorist activity. To test these assumptions I first use a cross-national quantitative analysis to identify significant factors in the relationship between terrorism and state capacity in sixty-five states across Africa and Southeast Asia using several sources of data including the Global Terrorism Database. I then examine four of these significant factors, military capacity, administrative capacity, repression, and corruption in two case study chapters that consider policy changes made after the rise of terrorist activity in West Africa and Southeast Asia. The results are mixed, finding as states increase military and administrative capacity terrorist activity increases which suggests with advances in legal and military capacity in the state comes the potential for repressive tactics and abuse that increases terrorist activity in response.