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Game Theory, Diplomatic History and Security Studies$
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Frank C. Zagare

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198831587

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198831587.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 September 2021

Perfect Deterrence Theory

Perfect Deterrence Theory

(p.127) 7 Perfect Deterrence Theory
Game Theory, Diplomatic History and Security Studies

Frank C. Zagare

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces perfect deterrence theory and contrasts it with classical deterrence theory, which is the prevailing realist theory of interstate war prevention. How and under what conditions war might be prevented is the principal question addressed by both theories. The assumptions, empirical implications, and policy prescriptions of the two approaches to deterrence are discussed. Classical deterrence theory is shown to have both logical and empirical problems. Perfect deterrence theory, which is composed of a number of interrelated game models that are analyzed under a common set of preference assumptions, is not only logically consistent but empirically robust as well.

Keywords:   perfect deterrence theory, classical deterrence theory, war prevention, game model, war

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