Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Ransom Kidnapping

  • Marco VanniniEmail author
  • Claudio Detotto
  • Bryan McCannon
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_576


The practice of kidnapping for ransom, a predatory crime carried out mostly by criminal organizations, is a salient phenomenon in many regions of the world. It causes serious harm not only to victims and their families but also to private and social capital. As a paradigmatic rational crime involving negotiations, the incentives to commit the crime and the way it ends change with the probability and severity of punishment, the kidnapper’s willingness to kill the hostage, and the value of the hostage life from the point of view of the family. Limiting the family’s ability to pay reduces the frequency of the offense but opens the possibility of unintended consequences in terms of fatalities and duration of abduction.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marco Vannini
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claudio Detotto
    • 2
  • Bryan McCannon
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Economics and CRENoSUniversity of SassariSassariItaly
  2. 2.DiSea – CRENoSUniversity of SassariSassariItaly
  3. 3.Saint Bonaventure UniversitySt BonaventureUSA