Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 4 > Issue 4

Strategic Militarization, Deterrence and Wars

Matthew O. Jackson, Department of Economics, Stanford University, jacksonm@stanford.edu , Massimo Morelli, Dept. of Political Science and Dept. of Economics, Columbia University, mm3331@columbia.edu
Suggested Citation
Matthew O. Jackson and Massimo Morelli (2009), "Strategic Militarization, Deterrence and Wars", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 4: No. 4, pp 279-313. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00009047

Publication Date: 15 Dec 2009
© 2009 M. O. Jackson and M. Morelli
War,  Formal modelling,  International conflict,  Security
DeterrenceWar and peaceMilitarizationHawksDeterrents and doves


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In this article:
1 Introduction 
2 The Model 
3 Three Armament Levels 
4 General Characterization of Markov Equilibria with a Continuum of Arms 
5 Concluding Remarks and Future Research 
Appendix: Proofs of the Results 


We study countries choosing armament levels and then whether or not to go to war. We show that if the costs of war are not overly high or low, then all equilibria must involve dove, hawk, and deterrent strategies and the probability of war is positive (but less than one) in any given period. Wars are between countries with differing armament levels and the frequency of wars is tempered by the presence of armament levels that are expressly chosen for their deterrent properties. As the probability of winning a war becomes more reactive to increased armament, the frequency of wars decreases. As it becomes increasingly possible to negotiate a credible settlement, the probability of peace increases, but the variance of armament levels increases and war becomes increasingly likely when negotiations break down.