Counterthreat of Attack to Deter Aggression

10 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2015 Last revised: 3 Apr 2018

See all articles by Jin Yeub Kim

Jin Yeub Kim

Yonsei University - School of Economics

Date Written: December 11, 2017


A crisis begins when a potential aggressor makes a threat of attack against a target state, creating a stalemate. The potential aggressor's military technology improves over time, but its true military capability or intention is unknown. I show that the more sensitive the target state is to the danger of potential aggression, the greater the chance that the potential aggressor backs down and the lesser the risk of war. By committing to attacking sooner, the target state can increase security from aggression. My analysis provides a security rationale for counterthreatening to attack to prevent the realization of an aggressor attack.

Keywords: international conflict, security threats, stalemate, military technology

JEL Classification: F51, D74, D82, C73

Suggested Citation

Kim, Jin Yeub, Counterthreat of Attack to Deter Aggression (December 11, 2017). Economics Letters, Vol. 167, 2018, Available at SSRN: or

Jin Yeub Kim (Contact Author)

Yonsei University - School of Economics ( email )

Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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