WWS Calendar

Book Talk "Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business"

Feb 26, 2020 04:30PM to 06:00PM
Louis A. Simpson International Building


Open to the Public
Anja Shortland, Professor of Political Economy, King's College London

Empirical Studies of Conflict Project, Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, and Center for International Security Studies

Kidnap for ransom is a lucrative but tricky business. Millions of people live, travel, and work in areas with significant kidnap risks, yet kidnaps of foreign workers, local VIPs, and tourists are surprisingly rare and the vast majority of abductions are peacefully resolved - often for remarkably low ransoms. In fact, the market for hostages is so well ordered that the crime is insurable. This is a puzzle: ransoming a hostage is the world's most precarious trade. What would be the "right" price for your loved one - and can you avoid putting others at risk by paying it? What prevents criminals from maltreating hostages? How do you (safely) pay a ransom? And why would kidnappers release a potential future witness after receiving their money?