Graduate Center for Social and Public Policy
McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
hostage, international terrorism, kidnapping, ransom, terrorism, terrorists
In the wake of the death of her son, James Foley, Diane Foley stated, "I pray that our government will be willing to learn from the mistakes that were made and to acknowledge that there are better ways for American citizens to be treated" (Cumming and Vinograd 2015). The recent American deaths at the hands of terrorist groups have brought kidnapping and ransom policy to the forefront of the American psyche. In an effort to understand why hostages are released or killed in situations where a ransom is asked, we attempt to isolate and test key variables using a binary logistic regression. Our results show that paying a ransom significantly decreases the likelihood that a hostage will be killed. We also find that religious extremist groups are not more likely to kill a hostage than other groups. Other variables are tested and discussed. We hope that this study will inform policy makers on kidnapping situations for ransom and guide our understanding in kidnappings for ransom.
Mullen, S. (2015). Terrorist Kidnappings for Ransom: Explaining Hostage Outcomes (Master's thesis, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/962