NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk

Sylvain Chassang, Gerard Padro i Miquel

NBER Working Paper No. 13964
Issued in April 2008
NBER Program(s):   POL

We examine the mechanics of deterrence and intervention when fear is a motive for conflict. We contrast results obtained in a complete information setting, where coordination is easy, to those obtained in a setting with strategic risk, where players have different assessments of their environment. These two strategic settings allow us to define and distinguish predatory and preemptive incentives as determinants of conflict. We show that while weapons have an unambiguous deterrent effect under complete information, this does not hold anymore under strategic risk. Rather, we find that increases in weapon stocks can have a non-monotonic effect on the sustainability of peace. We also show that under strategic risk, inequality in military strength can ac- tually facilitate peace and that anticipated peace-keeping interventions may improve incentives for peaceful behavior.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13964

Published: Sylvain Chassang & Gerard PadrĂ³ i Miquel, 2010. "Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1821-1858, November.

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