### 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 language | English (US) |
---|---|

Pages (from-to) | 91-99 |

Number of pages | 9 |

Journal | Journal of Peace Research |

Volume | 26 |

Issue number | 1 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - 1989 |

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### ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

### Cite this

*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.

Research output: Contribution to journal › Article

*Journal of Peace Research*, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 91-99. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022343389026001009

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Probability of Nuclear War

AU - Avenhaus, Rudolf

AU - Fichtner, John

AU - Brams, Steven

AU - Kilgour, D. Marc

PY - 1989

Y1 - 1989

N2 - 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.

AB - 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.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84970491477&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84970491477&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0022343389026001009

DO - 10.1177/0022343389026001009

M3 - Article

VL - 26

SP - 91

EP - 99

JO - Journal of Peace Research

JF - Journal of Peace Research

SN - 0022-3433

IS - 1

ER -