A new study by Max Abrahms and Matthew Got­tfried titled “Does Ter­rorism Pay? An Empir­ical Analysis” argues that it does not because gov­ern­ment com­pli­ance is usu­ally not forthcoming.

An inter­esting finding is that gov­ern­ments are more likely to deal with ter­ror­ists in hostage sit­u­a­tions when the demands are the release of pris­oners or money, as opposed to polit­ical demands.

Abrahms, an expert on insur­gency and ter­rorism at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston, told The Jerusalem Post­that the study builds on his pre­vious work that shows sta­tis­ti­cally that mil­i­tant groups are less likely to achieve their demands when they phys­i­cally harm civilians.

In the afore­men­tioned study, we show that ter­rorism doesn’t pay in the con­text of hostage sit­u­a­tions. Specif­i­cally, hostage-​​takers are less likely to suc­cess­fully pres­sure gov­ern­ment com­pli­ance when civil­ians are harmed in the course of the hostage crisis. Hostage– takers have better suc­cess at the bar­gaining table when they refrain from harming the cap­tives, espe­cially when they are not civil­ians,” he said.

Read the article at The Jerusalem Post →