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Researching terrorism’s impact on investment

Published: 14th May 2014

RESEARCHERS are investigating if terrorist attacks sway multi-national corporations’ decisions on where to invest and operate.

International business academics believe the study could help emerging economies attract much-needed investment, even if they are blighted by large terrorist incidents.

The Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) team will analyse rarely seen information collected by The UN, The World Bank and The IMF in an attempt to establish trends and patterns on the location choices made by multi-national corporations (MNCs).

The goal is to understand if and how terrorism impedes investment in a country. More specifically, this work aims to examine how terrorism affects MNCs’ decisions on where they base themselves and if this information can be used to help stimulate a business environment in terrorism-affected countries.

Encouraging investment

Professor Hamed El’Said is leading the project with Dr Agnieszka Chidlow, both from MMU's Centre for International Business and Innovation.

Prof El’Said said: “The research will be for informed policy making, asking how governments can target MNCs and tell them to come to their country, and how MNCs strategize the threat of terrorism in countries they are interested in investing but suffer from a relatively high level of uncertainty and security.

“These countries have very limited resources for investment promotion. We’re hoping that this will have far-reaching implications for research for international business and security studies. We believe that this will help to make MMU the leading centre in the UK and internationally.”

Dr Chidlow added: “The risk of carrying investments abroad, what kind of risk, if MNCs try to mitigate those risks and whether terrorism is one of those risks will be the focus of this study.”


Research will primarily focus on Middle Eastern and African countries affected by terrorist incidents, but also include The USA and European city regions.

The project, due to finish in 2016, draws upon a wealth of qualitative and quantitative data on corporations collected by the transnational organisations from 1970 to 2011. The team will also be working with Prof William Greene from New York University.

Prof El’Said, who has previously consulted for the UN on radicalisation and management of political risk and policy for governments, was awarded £225,000 by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry while Dr Chidlow was granted £10,000 by the British Academy Skill Acquisition Award.

Prof El’Said's new book ‘Countering Terrorism: Radicalisation, Counter Radicalisation and Deradicalisation in Muslim Majority States & Western Democracies’ will soon be published by Palgrave Macmillan. It is coordinated with and supported by the UN in New York, and funded by the Norwegian Government.