This plot from a sample of global bomb and car bomb incidents over 6 months in 2006, suggests that the frequency and severity of these incidents (measured by deaths) follows a power law. This is based on a data set compiled by Landmine Action. This approach to analysis is only a simple representation of more detailed work documented by Spagat and Johnson et. al. in From old wars to new wars and global terrorism.

Spagat and Johnsons analysis goes on to suggest this power law relationship is based on the coalescence and division of the “attack groups” that are responsible for these incidents.

Interestingly, a power law relationship seems to persevere in the Landmine Action data set even if incidents in contexts of “conflict” are excluded:

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