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Testing a Rational Choice Model of Airline Hijackings


Over the past several decades, the rational choice perspective has been applied to a wide variety of criminal behavior, including drunk driving (Nagin and Paternoster, 1993), burglary (Wright and Decker, 1994), robbery (Wright and Decker, 1997), shoplifting (Piquero and Tibbetts,1996), income tax evasion (Klepper andNagin, 1989), drug selling (Jacobs,1996), and white-collar crime (Paternoster and Simpson, 1996; Simpson, Piquero and Paternoster, 1998). In this paper we use a rational choice perspective to develop a series of hypotheses about the success, benefits and costs of aerial hijacking. Rational choice theory would seem to be an especially appropriate perspective for understanding hijackings, given that many are carefully planned and appear to include at least some consideration for risks and rewards. But at the same time, the aerial hijackings of September 11, 2001 vividly demonstrate that perpetrators of terrorist action sometimes appear to be largely indifferent to the kinds of individual costs and benefits most commonly measured in criminology research. In this research we apply the rational choice perspective to both terrorist and nonterrorist hijackings.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Dugan, Laura, Gary LaFree, and Alex R. Piquero. 2005. "Testing a Rational Choice Model of Airline Hijackings." Criminology (November): 1031-1065. 

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