The Economics Of Setting A Bounty On A Terrorist

May 22, 2015 in Daily Bulletin

Kathy Gilsinan wrote about the $25 million prize that was available for catching Osama Bin Laden:

  • The United States now offers $25 million for Bin Laden’s successor.
  • The numbers are determined based on perceived threat and may change if, for example, a terrorist gets promoted or demoted in their organization.
  • Yet one economist notes that $25 million seems too low when compared to the trillion dollars spent on the Afghanistan invasion.
  • If instead the United States had offered $500 million or a billion everybody could potentially have been saved a lot of trouble, grief, and money.
  • Critics note that such a high offer could result in even more false leads that would result in wasted time.
  • But false leads are the cost of doing business – and the government seems willing to accept that costs given the tremendous amount of false leads that must be generated by the NSA’s bulk metadata collection.
  • Moreover there’s not much of an incentive to offer false leads – no money will change hands as a result of it.
  • Other critics note that the bounty may in fact be too high. $25 million may seem too abstract and potential informants may not appreciate just how much it is.

Read more musings about the subject here.

Source: Defense One