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Defensive Weapons and Star Wars: A Supergame with Optimal Punishments


  • G. Giacomello
  • L. Lambertini


We model the perspective faced by nuclear powers involved in a supergame where nuclear deterrence is used to stabilise peace. This setting allows us to investigate the bearings of defensive weapons on the effectiveness of deterrence and peace stability, relying on one-shot optimal punishments. We find that the sustainability of peace is unaffected by defensive shields if both countries have them, while a unilateral endowment of such weapons has destabilising consequences.

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  • G. Giacomello & L. Lambertini, 2011. "Defensive Weapons and Star Wars: A Supergame with Optimal Punishments," Working Papers wp739, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp739

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    1. John C. Harsanyi & Reinhard Selten, 1988. "A General Theory of Equilibrium Selection in Games," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262582384, July.
    2. James W. Friedman, 1971. "A Non-cooperative Equilibrium for Supergames," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-12.
    3. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
    4. Paul Klemperer & Margaret Meyer, 1986. "Price Competition vs. Quantity Competition: The Role of Uncertainty," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 618-638, Winter.
    5. Powell, Robert, 2006. "War as a Commitment Problem," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 169-203, January.
    6. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard PadrĂ³ I Miquel, 2010. "Conflict and Deterrence Under Strategic Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1821-1858.
    7. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padro i Miquel, 2009. "Defensive Weapons and Defensive Alliances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 282-286, May.
    8. Abreu, Dilip, 1986. "Extremal equilibria of oligopolistic supergames," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 191-225, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions

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