The struggle for Palestinian hearts and minds: Violence and public opinion in the Second Intifada

David A. Jaeger, Esteban F. Klor, Sami H. Miaari, M. Daniele Paserman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


This paper examines how violence influences the political preferences of an aggrieved constituency that is purportedly represented by militant factions. Using longitudinal public opinion poll micro data of the Palestinian population linked to data on fatalities from the Second Intifada, we find that although local Israeli violence discourages Palestinians from supporting moderate political positions, this "radicalization" is fleeting, and vanishes completely within 90. days. We do, however, find evidence suggesting that collateral violence affecting Palestinian civilians has a stronger effect on the populations' political preferences relative to individuals directly targeted by the Israeli military. In addition, we observe that major political events in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict have had a longer-term impact on political preferences. Individuals who were teenagers during the period of the Oslo negotiations tend to have relatively moderate preferences, while those who were teenagers during the First Intifada tend to be relatively radical.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)354-368
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Public Economics
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Apr 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are deeply grateful to the Jerusalem Media and Communication Center and the Development Studies Programme at Bir Zeit University for kindly providing us with their micro data. The authors thank Jesse Shapiro, Ivàn Fernàndez-Val, Brian Knight, two anonymous referees, and seminar participants at numerous universities and conferences for helpful comments. David Jaeger and Daniele Paserman thank the Samuel Neaman Institute for financial support. Esteban Klor thanks the NBER and Boston University for their warm hospitality while he was working on this project.


  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict
  • Political preferences
  • Public opinion


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