An Assessment of the Merits of Selective Nuclear Proliferation

Bruce Bueno De Mesquita, William H. Riker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We assume that in a conflict between a nation with a nuclear capability and one without, the conflict may become nuclear, while, in a conflict between two nuclear powers, the conflict is unlikely to become nuclear by reason of fear of retaliation. Then, as the number of nations with nuclear weapons increases, the chance of bilateral conflict becoming nuclear initially increases and then decreases to zero when all nations are nuclearly armed. Empirical evidence suggests that nuclear deterrence does in fact work in the way the model assumes. We set forth an expected utility model for initiating conflict when nuclear weapons are held by both sides, by one side, and by neither side. While there are dangers in proliferation, these dangers may not be as great as dangers of asymmetry in nuclear power.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)283-306
    Number of pages24
    JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
    Volume26
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1982

    Fingerprint

    proliferation
    nuclear power
    nuclear weapon
    bilateral conflict
    retaliation
    deterrence
    asymmetry
    Nuclear proliferation
    anxiety
    evidence
    Nuclear power
    Nuclear weapons

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    An Assessment of the Merits of Selective Nuclear Proliferation. / Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce; Riker, William H.

    In: Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 26, No. 2, 1982, p. 283-306.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce ; Riker, William H. / An Assessment of the Merits of Selective Nuclear Proliferation. In: Journal of Conflict Resolution. 1982 ; Vol. 26, No. 2. pp. 283-306.
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