War games

Kevin Lewis

March 01, 2017

Attacking the Unknown Weapons of a Potential Bomb Builder: The Impact of Intelligence on the Strategic Interaction

Artyom Jelnov, Yair Tauman & Richard Zeckhauser

Games and Economic Behavior, forthcoming

Nation 1 wants to develop a nuclear bomb (or other weapons of mass destruction). Nation 2, its enemy, wants to prevent this, either by requiring that 1 open his facilities, or through a pinpoint strike if her imperfect intelligence system (IS) indicates a bomb is present or imminent. If 1 refuses full inspection, 2 can attack 1 or not. 1's cost for allowing inspection, private information, can be either high, H, or low, L. The game's unique sequential equilibrium will be separating or pooling, depending on the precision of IS. The equilibrium is fully characterized. Surprisingly for less accurate IS, 2 behaves aggressively-her appetite to attack is strong. Highly accurate IS dampens that appetite. The following tragic outcome arises in equilibrium with positive probability: 1 does not develop the bomb; 2's IS correctly signals 1's decision; 1, regardless of type, refuses to open its facilities; 2 attacks 1.


Foreign Aid, Human Rights, and Democracy Promotion: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Allison Carnegie & Nikolay Marinov

American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Does foreign aid improve human rights and democracy? We help arbitrate the debate over this question by leveraging a novel source of exogeneity: the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. We find that when a country's former colonizer holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union during the budget-making process, the country is allocated considerably more foreign aid than are countries whose former colonizer does not hold the presidency. Using instrumental variables estimation, we demonstrate that this aid has positive effects on human rights and democracy, although the effects are short-lived after the shock to aid dissipates. We adduce the timing of events, qualitative evidence, and theoretical insights to argue that the conditionality associated with an increased aid commitment is responsible for the positive effects in the domains of human rights and democracy.


Out of the Service, Into the House: Military Experience and Congressional War Oversight

Danielle Lupton

Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

While evidence from international security and civil-military relations shows that elites with military experience have distinct policy preferences from elites who have not served in the armed forces, the effects of military service are not apparent in congressional voting records on foreign and defense policy. If elites with military experience have distinct policy preferences, why has this gap failed to manifest itself in congressional policy positions? I argue that the effects of military service are most pronounced on issues where this experience is highly salient: on the oversight of war operations. Using a pooled cross-sectional time-series analysis of an index of roll call votes in the House of Representatives during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, I find that congresspersons with military experience are significantly more likely to vote to increase congressional oversight over war operations, including increased access to information and limiting the deployment of troops in theater. Further tests confirm these findings are not simply due to partisan effects. I discuss how my results carry serious implications for war termination and the declining number of veterans in Congress during the post-9/11 era, as well as the impact of military service on foreign policy and international security.


No Love for Doves? Foreign Policy and Candidate Appeal

John Kane & Helmut Norpoth

Social Science Quarterly, forthcoming

Methods: We conducted experiments in which (fictional) candidates take hawkish or dovish positions in response to a real-world threat to the United States. We complemented these studies with analyses of national survey data for the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.

Results: Our results consistently refute the popular proposition that Democrats stand to benefit from adopting more hawkish foreign policy stances.


Nuclear Weapons in Wargames: Testing Traditions and Taboos

Reid Pauly

MIT Working Paper, February 2017

I explore the available history of wargaming in the United States to uncover evidence about the willingness of American strategic elites to use nuclear weapons. Recent scholarship using survey experiments has found evidence against a publicly held aversion to the use of nuclear weapons (Press, Sagan, Valentino 2013). This finding casts doubt on the universal applicability of a normative prohibition on the use of nuclear weapons. However, existing research is limited by the fact that the general public is not empowered to make decisions about the use of nuclear weapons. To investigate the views of decision-makers, I look to declassified wargames that considered the use of nuclear weapons. I argue that strategic elites who participated in wargames showed a remarkable reluctance to employ nuclear weapons, and that their reticence provides evidence in favor of an elite tradition of non-use of nuclear weapons. Neither of the two most prominent monographs on the question of non-use (Tannenwald 2007; Paul 2009) use evidence from wargames. The article also includes an investigation of how and why wargames are methodologically useful for political scientists.


Is Chinese Nationalism Rising? Evidence from Beijing

Alastair Iain Johnston

International Security, Winter 2016/17, Pages 7-43

“Rising nationalism” has been a major meme in commentary on the development of China's material power since the early 1990s. Analysts often claim that rising nationalism, especially among China's youth, is an important force compelling the Chinese leadership to take a tougher stand on a range of foreign policy issues, particularly maritime disputes in East Asia. The rising nationalism meme is one element in the “newly assertive China” narrative that generalizes from China's coercive diplomacy in these disputes to claim that a dissatisfied China is challenging a U.S.-dominated liberal international order writ large. But is this meme accurate? Generally, research on Chinese nationalism has lacked a baseline against which to measure changing levels of nationalism across time. The data from the Beijing Area Study survey of Beijing residents from 1998 to 2015 suggest that the rising popular nationalism meme is empirically inaccurate. This finding implies that there are other factors that may be more important in explaining China's coercive diplomacy on maritime issues, such as elite opinion, the personal preferences of top leaders, security dilemma dynamics, organizational interests, or some combination thereof.


Did Star Wars Help End the Cold War? Soviet Response to the SDI Program

Pavel Podvig

Science & Global Security, Spring 2017, Pages 3-27

The Strategic Defense Initiative was a U.S. missile defense program that played a very prominent role in the U.S.–Soviet relationships in the 1980s and is often credited with helping end the Cold War, as it presented the Soviet Union with a technological challenge that it could not meet. This article introduces several official Soviet documents to examine Soviet response to SDI. The evidence suggests that although the Soviet Union expressed serious concerns about U.S. missile defense program, SDI was not a decisive factor in advancing arms control negotiations. Instead, the program seriously complicated U.S.–Soviet arms control process. SDI also failed to dissuade the Soviet Union from investing in development of ballistic missiles. The Soviet Union quickly identified ways to avoid a technological arms race with the United States and focused on development of advanced missiles and anti-satellite systems to counter missile defenses. Some of these programs have been preserved to the current day.


Civil-military Pathologies and Defeat in War: Tests Using New Data

Vipin Narang & Caitlin Talmadge

Journal of Conflict Resolution, forthcoming

This article uses an original data set, the Wartime Civil-military Relations Data Set, to test arguments about the causes of victory and defeat in war. Our analysis provides strong initial support for the notion that civil-military relations powerfully shape state prospects for victory and defeat. Specifically, states whose militaries have a significant internal role or whose regimes engage in coup-proofing appear to have a substantially lower probability of winning interstate wars, even when we account for the role of other important variables, including regime type and material capabilities. Crucially, our measures of civil-military relations include coup incidence but also move beyond it to detect more subtle indicators of civil-military relations. The resulting analysis should give us confidence in acknowledging the importance of nonmaterial variables in explaining war outcomes, while also paving the way for further research that can utilize and extend the data set.


The cycle of violence in the Second Intifada: Causality in nonlinear vector autoregressive models

Muhammad Asali, Aamer Abu-Qarn & Michael Beenstock

Journal of Applied Econometrics, forthcoming

We contest Jaeger and Paserman's claim (Jaeger and Paserman , 2008. The cycle of violence? An empirical analysis of fatalities in the Palestinian–Israeli conflict. American Economic Review 98(4): 1591–1604) that Palestinians did not react to Israeli aggression during Intifada 2. We address the differences between the two sides in terms of the timing and intensity of violence, estimate nonlinear vector autoregression models that are suitable when the linear vector autoregression innovations are not normally distributed, identify causal effects rather than Granger causality using the principle of weak exogeneity, and introduce the “kill-ratio” as a concept for testing hypotheses about the cycle of violence. The Israelis killed 1.28 Palestinians for every killed Israeli, whereas the Palestinians killed only 0.09 Israelis for every killed Palestinian.


Assessing the Effectiveness of High-Profile Targeted Killings in the “War on Terror”: A Quasi-Experiment

Jennifer Varriale Carson

Criminology & Public Policy, February 2017, Pages 191–220

Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, and the ensuing “war on terrorism,” the U.S. government has engaged in a series of controversial counterterrorism policies. Perhaps none is more so than the use of targeted killings aimed at eliminating the senior leadership of the global jihadist movement. Nevertheless, prior research has yet to establish that this type of tactic is effective, even among high-profile targets. Employing a robust methodology, I find that these types of killings primarily yielded negligible effects.


The Effects of Rejecting Aid on Recipients' Reputations: Evidence from Natural Disaster Responses

Allison Carnegie & Lindsay Dolan

Columbia University Working Paper, February 2017

How do states improve their international status and prestige short of war? We argue that rejecting international assistance can boost a government’s image by making it appear self-sufficient and able to provide for its citizens, leading many states to decline foreign aid. However, potential recipients only do so when they have the ability to send a credible signal and when they value status highly. We derive these hypotheses from a formal model and then use a survey experiment to demonstrate that international observers alter their opinions about potential recipients when they learn that they rejected international aid. Finally, we gather new data to empirically verify that the more resources and greater military capabilities states possess, the more likely they are to reject aid, even when they require the aid. Our results help to explain why states sometimes refuse needed assistance and suggest that many states cultivate images of self-sufficiency.


Does Terror Defeat Contact? Intergroup Contact and Prejudice Toward Muslims Before and After the London Bombings

Dominic Abrams et al.

Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology, forthcoming

Allport (1954) proposed a series of preconditions that have subsequently been shown to facilitate effects of intergroup contact on attitudes toward outgroups (Pettigrew & Tropp, 2006). The present study examines whether objective threat, in the form of the 2005 London 7/7 terror attack, can inhibit the positive effects of contact. We tested hypotheses that contact would affect prejudice toward Muslims regardless of the bombings (contact prevails) or that the bombings would inhibit the effects of contact on prejudice (threat inhibits). Data were collected through representative national surveys 1 month before and again 1 month after the attacks in London on July 7, 2005 (pre-7/7 N = 931; post-7/7 N = 1,100), which represent relatively low and relatively high salience of “objective threat.” Prejudice against Muslims significantly increased following the bombings. Psychological threats to safety (safety threat) and to customs (symbolic threat) mediated the impact of the bombings on prejudice, whereas perceived economic threat did not. All 3 types of psychological threat mediated between contact and prejudice. Multigroup structural equation modeling showed that, even though the objective threat did raise levels of psychological threats, the positive effects of contact on prejudice through perceived psychological threats persisted. Results therefore support a contact prevails hypothesis.


The Political Economy of Heterogeneity and Conflict

Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg

Tufts University Working Paper, January 2017

In this paper we present a conceptual framework linking cultural heterogeneity to inter-group conflict. When conflict is about control of public goods, more heterogeneous groups are expected to fight more with each other. In contrast, when conflict is about rival goods, more similar groups are more likely to engage in war with each other. We formalize these ideas within an analytical model and discuss recent empirical studies that are consistent with the model's implications.


Can News Draw Blood? The Impact of Media Coverage on the Number and Severity of Terror Attacks

Klaus Beckmann, Ralf Dewenter & Tobias Thomas

Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, January 2017

Using a new data set that captures the share of reporting on terrorism, we explore the nexus between terrorist attacks and the news. It turns out that terrorism mainly influences news reports through the number of incidents. Regarding the reverse causality, we provide evidence that the share of the news devoted to terrorism Granger-causes further terrorist activities. However, short-run and medium-run effects differ: media coverage on terror only impact in the severity of terror in the short run (up to two months). From the third to the tenth months, it causes an increase in the number as well as in the severity of the attack. These observations are consistent with the idea of competition between terrorist groups.


Do Countries Consistently Engage in Misinforming the International Community about Their Efforts to Combat Money Laundering? Evidence Using Benford’s Law

Ioana Sorina Deleanu

PLoS ONE, January 2017

Indicators of compliance and efficiency in combatting money laundering, collected by EUROSTAT, are plagued with shortcomings. In this paper, I have carried out a forensic analysis on a 2003–2010 dataset of indicators of compliance and efficiency in combatting money laundering, that European Union member states self-reported to EUROSTAT, and on the basis of which, their efforts were evaluated. I used Benford’s law to detect any anomalous statistical patterns and found that statistical anomalies were also consistent with strategic manipulation. According to Benford’s law, if we pick a random sample of numbers representing natural processes, and look at the distribution of the first digits of these numbers, we see that, contrary to popular belief, digit 1 occurs most often, then digit 2, and so on, with digit 9 occurring in less than 5% of the sample. Without prior knowledge of Benford’s law, since people are not intuitively good at creating truly random numbers, deviations thereof can capture strategic alterations. In order to eliminate other sources of deviation, I have compared deviations in situations where incentives and opportunities for manipulation existed and in situations where they did not. While my results are not a conclusive proof of strategic manipulation, they signal that countries that faced incentives and opportunities to misinform the international community about their efforts to combat money laundering may have manipulated these indicators. Finally, my analysis points to the high potential for disruption that the manipulation of national statistics has, and calls for the acknowledgment that strategic manipulation can be an unintended consequence of the international community’s pressure on countries to put combatting money laundering on the top of their national agenda.


The Effects of Terror on International Air Passenger Transport: An Empirical Investigation

Devashish Mitra, Cong Si Pham & Subhayu Bandyopadhyay

Federal Reserve Working Paper, January 2017

This paper presents a theoretical model (adapted from the structural gravity model by Anderson and van Wincoop, 2003) to capture the effects of terrorism on air passenger traffic between nations affected by terrorism. We then use equations derived from this model, in conjunction with alternative functional forms for trade costs, to estimate the effects of terrorism on bilateral air passenger flows from 57 source countries to 25 destination countries for the period of 2000 to 2014. We find that an additional terrorist incident results in approximately a 1.2% decrease in the bilateral air passenger transport per unit distance while doubling of the accumulated terrorist incidents during the past 5 years reduces it by 18%. Terrorism adversely impacts the bilateral air passenger transport per unit distance both by reducing national output and especially by increasing psychological distress, which could be an important contributing factor in perceived travel costs. Last but not the least, we show that the responsiveness of international air travel to terrorism critically depends on the nature of the terrorist attacks. Specifically, international air passenger transport is found to be extremely sensitive to fatal terrorist attacks and terrorist attacks of targets such as airports, transportation or tourists.

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