View Full Version : Terrorist Hostage Taking: The Use of Deadly Force by the State and Event Duration

05-11-2009, 03:22 PM
I recently completed research on the relationship between the use of deadly force and the duration of terrorist hostage events. The abstract is below:

Terrorists continue to use hostage taking as a tactic to pursue their political social goals with deadly results. Previous work exploring hostage events has focused primarily on the the dynamics of state-and-terrorist negotiations, and the effect of a “no concession” policy on future hostage taking. This work presents an alternative empirical analysis, examining both the decision to take hostages and the event duration. The research focuses on how the use of violence by the state against hostage takers affects event duration. Using data on hostage events from the Global Terrorism Database, and implementing a FIML corrected duration model that accounts for selection effects, the research tests several hypotheses for both tactical selection and duration. The analysis provides strong evidence that the use of precise deadly force against terrorists reduces the duration of hostage events. Given the limiting nature of the data, however, options for critical future research are presented in the conclusion.

The full paper is available here (http://www.drewconway.com/zia/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/hostage_selection_duration.pdf). I welcome all comments and criticism from the Small Wars community.