February 6, 2009
This paper employs advanced time series methods to identify the dynamic properties of three hostage taking series. The immediate and long run multipliers of three covariates—successful past negotiations, violent ends, and deaths—are identified. Each hostage series responds differently to the covariates. Past concessions have the strongest impact on generating future kidnapping events, supporting the conventional wisdom to abide by a stated no-concession policy. Each hostage series has different changepoints caused by a variety of circumstances. Skyjackings and kidnappings are negatively correlated, while skyjackings and other hostage events are positively correlated. Policy recommendations are offered.