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When are nuclear weapons worth having?


  • Antti-Ville Suni


This paper introduces a cost-benefit analysis for future nuclear weapon possession using natural numbers in a simple discrete time model. In essence, I focus on the expected values (probability multiplied by magnitude of detonations) of deliberate and accidental nuclear wars among unitary states. I take the United Kingdom's current Trident renewal program as my case study. I seek to establish the expected value of a nuclear attack on the UK in the absence of nuclear weapons necessary to make the possession of nuclear weapons worthwhile. I find the net-value of nuclear weapons to be negative even under generous parametric values in their favor. I also discuss how our cognitive biases may affect the interpretation of the results. The analysis and discussion are limited to the UK, but the implications are likely to apply to other small nuclear weapon states, as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Antti-Ville Suni, 2015. "When are nuclear weapons worth having?," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(5), pages 555-565, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:defpea:v:26:y:2015:i:5:p:555-565
    DOI: 10.1080/10242694.2014.948701

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    Cited by:

    1. Asongu, Simplice & Nnanna, Joseph, 2019. "Dynamic Determinants of Access to Weapons: Global Evidence," MPRA Paper 93532, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Simplice A. Asongu & Joseph Nnanna, 2019. "Determinants of Access to Weapons: Global Evidence," Working Papers 19/008, European Xtramile Centre of African Studies (EXCAS).

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