Krueger is guest-blogging at TPM Cafe this week. His first post (here), titled "What makes a terrorist", summarizes the key findings from his book with the same title. Towards the end of the post, he talks about the role of education:
What makes a terrorist, then, is someone with a fanatical commitment to pursuing a grievance combined with the perception that there are few alternatives for pursuing that grievance – and a terrorist organization or cell willing to deploy a would-be terrorist. Poverty and lack of education play very little role. Indeed, education may have a counterintuitive effect because highly educated people are more likely to become involved politically and to hold strong opinions. Increasing educational attainment does many wonderful things for a country and its people, but reducing terrorism is not one of them.
The following analogy is particularly interesting:
Many people implicitly view terrorism the same way they view crime: those with low opportunity costs and few legitimate opportunities turn to crime. I argue that a better analogy for terrorism is to voting. People who care about issues vote, even though they often have a higher opportunity cost of time than nonvoters. Terrorists and the organizations that dispatch them seek to make political statements. What makes a terrorist thus depends on the political grievances that terrorists and their organizations are pursuing and the alternatives for pursing those grievances.