Conflict and Deterrence Under Strategic Risk
37 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2008 Last revised: 29 Aug 2010
Date Written: April 2008
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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