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Terrorist Success in Hostage-Taking Incidents


  • Todd Sandler

    (Department of Economics, Iowa State University)

  • John L. Scott

    (Department of Economics, University of South Carolina)


This article identifies factors that help explain terrorist success in hostage-taking events. Two measures of success are examined: logistical success and negotiation success. In the empirical estimations, we regress the log of the odds ratio against various sets of explanatory variables. For both sets of models, the statistical results are robust to changes in the explanatory variables. Our results are compared with propositions derived from the economic theory of bargaining; these propositions are partly supported by our findings. The article also sketches the choice-theoretic model faced by a terrorist during the planning and negotiating stages of a hostage mission.

Suggested Citation

  • Todd Sandler & John L. Scott, 1987. "Terrorist Success in Hostage-Taking Incidents," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 31(1), pages 35-53, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:31:y:1987:i:1:p:35-53

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    Cited by:

    1. Alexander Fink & Mark Pingle, 2014. "Kidnap insurance and its impact on kidnapping outcomes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 481-499, September.
    2. Andrew Samuel & Seth D. Guikema, 2012. "Resource Allocation for Homeland Defense: Dealing with the Team Effect," Decision Analysis, INFORMS, vol. 9(3), pages 238-252, September.
    3. Brandt, Patrick T. & George, Justin & Sandler, Todd, 2016. "Why concessions should not be made to terrorist kidnappers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 41-52.
    4. Peter J. Phillips & Gabriela Pohl, 2017. "Terrorist choice: a stochastic dominance and prospect theory analysis," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(2), pages 150-164, March.
    5. Sylvain Baumann, 2009. "Protection and technology transfer against a terrorist threat," Post-Print hal-02311532, HAL.
    6. Guikema, Seth D. & Aven, Terje, 2010. "Assessing risk from intelligent attacks: A perspective on approaches," Reliability Engineering and System Safety, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 478-483.

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