Winner of the 2020 International Book Awards in the category of History: Military.

The Economics of Violence

How Behavioral Science Can Transform our View of Crime, Insurgency, and Terrorism

 by Gary M. Shiffman, PhD

How can we understand illicit violence? Can we prevent it?

Building on economic theory, The Economics of Violence begins with the idea that each human is more predictable than we like to believe, and this ability to model human behavior applies equally well to leaders of violent and coercive organizations as it does to each of us.

Humans seek survival for themselves and their communities in a world of competition. While the dynamics of “us vs. them” are divisive, they also help us to survive. Access to increasingly larger markets, facilitated through information technology, the World Wide Web, and social media, creates more transnational opportunities for deception, coercion, and violence.

If the economist’s perspective helps to explain violence, then it must also facilitate insights into promoting peace and security. If we can approach violence as behavioral scientists, then we can also better structure our institutions to create policies that make the world a more secure place, for us and for future generations.

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Released March 2020


For more about Dr. Shiffman and his other publications visit