Dr. Gary Shiffman’s book The Economics of Violence: How Behavioral Science Can Transform our View of Crime, Insurgency, and Terrorism (Cambridge UP, 2020) serves as a fantastic introduction to anyone interested in thinking critically about terrorist, insurgency, and criminal groups of all sorts. Using case studies from multiple continents, ideological contexts, and political situations, Dr. Shiffman shows how the language and tools familiar to economists can assist policy makers and security personnel to combat rival ‘firms,’ as he classifies them. Arguing strongly against essentialist labels and stories about why these groups act the way that they do, Dr. Shiffman offers us an approach to understanding ‘illicit’ groups that would be recognizable to leaders of many ‘legitimate’ organizations.
Dr. Gary Shiffman is a Professor at Georgetown University, the CEO of two software companies, a former Naval Officer and Border Patrol leader, a former Fortune 200 executive, and an engaging writer. His is the author of one other book on the Economic Instruments of Security Policy.