Research and Data on September 11 Terrorist Attacks

11 September 2009, 1409 EDT

It is an appropriately gloomy day here in Manhattan, as the city and the country remembers the horror of September 11th, 2001 and attempts to continue to collectively heal. For me, part of that healing process has been trying to understand what happened, and more importantly, how to prevent it from ever happening again. Over the past eight years many others have been moved to investigate and analyze these events, which has lead to a plethora of research on 9/11—some good, some not so good.

As someone who attempts to read everything that comes across my desk related to these attacks, I thought today an appropriate time to compile a short list of my favorite research and data on the terrorist attacks of September 11th.


  • Leaderless Jihad: Terror Networks in the Twenty-First Century, Marc Sageman – Much of the initial academic and popular research related to the causes of terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11 focused on the colloquial wisdom that terrorist were poor, uneducated, and disaffected young men. Sageman was the first scholar to actually apply scientific rigor to the analysis of terrorist origins, and using his own data on the Hamburg cell the book continues to stand out as on of the best treatments of the formation and motivation of the 9/11 hijackers.
  • Responder Communication Networks in the World Trade Center Disaster: Implications for Modeling of Communication Within Emergency Settings.Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 31(2), 121-147. Carter T. Butts; Miruna Petrescu-Prahova; B. Remy Cross – This is one of the most unique and interesting studies on the events of 9/11. Butts and his co-authors use data from emergency responder radio communication to build a dynamic collaboration network. This is a great paper for those interested in time-space relations under heavy stress and uncertainty.
  • The Internet Under Crisis Conditions, Learning from September 11, National Academic Press – I was fortunate enough to have attended the release conference this research in Washington, DC. This remains the most comprehensive examination of global internet traffic, and network response in the aftermath of the loss of a major node at the World Trade Center.
  • An economic perspective on transnational terrorism, European Journal of Political Economy. Volume 20, Issue 2, June 2004, Pages 301-316, Todd Sandler and Walter Enders – Sandler and Enders are two leading scholars on the relationship among politics, economics and terrorism, and have written extensively on the topic. This article is one of the first to apply a game theoretic model to the economic of terrorism in the aftermath of 9/11.


As always, I welcome any and all addendum to the list.