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IACM 2022

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"We do not negotiate with terrorists! Would you want us to?"

Governmental responses to the frequently occurring terrorist hostage-takings depend on popular support for governmental policy. Yet, little is known about how people form their judgement of governmental policies in this moral dilemma. We argue that people typically have incomplete information and their policy support for concessions can be substantially altered by changing the information they receive about different consequences. Across three studies (N = 1,547) employing both qualitative and quantitative methods, we found that (a) people show lower support for concessions when they have incomplete information, (b) providing information on the benefits of concessions increases support for concessions, (c) support for concessions under full information increases when the benefits outweigh the costs and when a norm prescribes concessions. The potential implications for policymaking are discussed.

Marc Mertes
TU Dortmund University

Robert Böhm
University of Vienna / University of Copenhagen

Joachim Hüffmeier
TU Dortmund University


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