Real-world nuclear decision making: using behavioral economics insights to adjust nonproliferation and deterrence policies to predictable deviations from rationality
A report on a workshop organized by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Knopf, Jeffrey W.
Harrington, Anne I.
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The invention of nuclear weapons created unprecedented challenges for the world. Even today, seventy years after the first atomic weapons test, the effort to find effective policies and strategies for dealing with nuclear weapons remains a daunting challenge. From early in the nuclear age, attention focused on deterrence as a strategy to prevent nuclear war. By the 1960s, key states were also seeking to limit the growth of nuclear arsenals and spread of nuclear arms through tools such as arms control and nonproliferation. More recently, global efforts have also encompassed nuclear security, or measures to keep bomb-making materials out of the hands of non-state actors such as terrorist groups. While international agreements are central to advancing nonproliferation and nuclear security goals, states sometimes find it advantageous to use other policy tools such as economic sanctions or diplomatic engagement to reinforce their efforts in these areas. And in the United States and a few other countries, efforts to develop ballistic missile defenses also remain an ongoing policy goal.
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