Perceived Risk of Terrorism and Policy Preferences for Government Counterterrorism Spending: Evidence From a U.S. National Panel Survey Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 Policy Studies Organization Drawing on past literature and using data from a two-wave survey, we expand existing research to examine how individual social-economic-political characteristics and psychometric factors shape citizens terrorism risk perception, and how such risk perception and citizens perception of government competence affect policy preference for government counterterrorism spending. Using the two-wave panel data, we also assess whether there is decay over time in the public's overall risk perception and in their overall policy preference for counterterrorism spending. We further examine the key factors driving changes between the two waves in individual respondents risk perception and spending preference. Results reveal that risk perception is influenced by both social-economic-political characteristics and psychometric factors, with the latter showing stronger predictive power, and that higher levels of risk perception and greater perceived government competence lead to stronger support for counterterrorism spending. We find no significant decay between the two waves in either the overall level of risk perception or the overall level of spending preference, but at the individual level, changes in risk perception are positively associated with changes in psychometric variables, and changes in spending preference are predicted by changes in perceived risk and changes in perceived government competence.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 87.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, X., Mumpower, J. L., Portney, K. E., & Vedlitz, A.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Liu, Xinsheng||Mumpower, Jeryl L||Portney, Kent E||Vedlitz, Arnold

publication date

  • March 2019