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Short-Term Effects of Authority Concessions to Terrorist Hostage-Takers: Stability and Generalizability of the Concession Effect
Should authorities concede to the demands of terrorist hostage-takers or not? Making this difficult decision requires accurate knowledge of the consequences of each alternative. A prior study suggested that authority concessions to terrorist hostage-takers reduce casualties among the hostages and overall (Mertes et al., 2020). We term this finding the concession effect. However, this study investigated relatively old data on exclusively international terrorist hostage-takings. Outdated findings could impair decision–making in life–threatening situations. Thus, we illuminate the stability and generalizability of the concession effect. We analyzed Global Terrorism Database (START, 2019b) data on domestic terrorist hostage-takings that occurred between 1970 and 2018. As hypothesized, we found that authority concessions increased the likelihood of a successfully completed hostage exchange and reduced the number of overall fatalities. Altogether, our findings suggest that the concession effect is a stable finding that generalizes to domestic terrorist hostage-takings.