Public Choice

, Volume 160, Issue 3–4, pp 481–499 | Cite as

Kidnap insurance and its impact on kidnapping outcomes

  • Alexander FinkEmail author
  • Mark Pingle


In the developing world, kidnapping is relatively common, and a market for kidnap insurance has arisen in response. We provide a model that allows us to analyze how kidnap insurance affects the interaction between the kidnapper and the victim’s family when both are self-interested and have complete knowledge. We find that a market for kidnap insurance can be supported because it benefits a risk-averse family, as long as the introduction of insurance does not increase the risk of kidnapping too much. Families should fully insure if purchasing insurance does not increase the probability of kidnapping, and partially insure otherwise. Kidnapping insurance allows families to redeem hostages from kidnappers with a greater willingness to kill, which may reduce the number of kidnapping fatalities as long as the insurance does not increase the risk of kidnapping too much.


Kidnapping Insurance Unintended consequences Fatalities from kidnappings 

JEL Classification

G22 C72 K4 



We thank Andreas Hoffmann, Marek Hudik, Benjamin Larin, the editors, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of the paper. Alexander Fink gratefully acknowledges the support of the International Center for Economic Research (ICER).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für WirtschaftspolitikUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Nevada, RenoRenoUSA

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