The Probability of Nuclear War

Rudolf Avenhaus, John Fichtner, Steven Brams, D. Marc Kilgour

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    A theoretical analysis of the probability of nuclear war is developed that assumes a starting probability and an annual reduction factor. Whatever the starting probability is, a constant reduction factor leads to an eventual probability that is less than 1, whereas the eventual probability goes to 1 if there is no reduction or if the reduction proportion decreases at a constant rate. Numerical calculations and graphical results illustrate trade-offs between the starting probabilities and the reduction factors, demonstrating especially the significance of the latter. In addition, upper and lower limits for, and approximations of, the eventual probabilities - along with measures of the rate of convergence - are derived. The applicability of the analysis to lowering the probability of nuclear war is discussed, with particular attention paid to real-life factors that seem to affect this probability.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)91-99
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Peace Research
    Volume26
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1989

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    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Safety Research
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Avenhaus, R., Fichtner, J., Brams, S., & Kilgour, D. M. (1989). The Probability of Nuclear War. Journal of Peace Research, 26(1), 91-99. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343389026001009

    The Probability of Nuclear War. / Avenhaus, Rudolf; Fichtner, John; Brams, Steven; Kilgour, D. Marc.

    In: Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 26, No. 1, 1989, p. 91-99.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Avenhaus, R, Fichtner, J, Brams, S & Kilgour, DM 1989, 'The Probability of Nuclear War', Journal of Peace Research, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 91-99. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343389026001009
    Avenhaus R, Fichtner J, Brams S, Kilgour DM. The Probability of Nuclear War. Journal of Peace Research. 1989;26(1):91-99. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343389026001009
    Avenhaus, Rudolf ; Fichtner, John ; Brams, Steven ; Kilgour, D. Marc. / The Probability of Nuclear War. In: Journal of Peace Research. 1989 ; Vol. 26, No. 1. pp. 91-99.
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