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A Misfit Model: Irrational Deterrence and Bounded Rationality
Swedish Defence University, Department of War Studies and Military History, Maritime Operations Division. KTH Royal Institute of Technology, (SWE).
2022 (English)In: Theory and Decision, ISSN 0040-5833, E-ISSN 1573-7187, Vol. 94, no 4, p. 575-591Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contemporary theories of deterrence place a strong emphasis on coherency between model and theory. Schelling’s contention of irrational threats for successful deterrence abandons the rationality assumption to explain how a player can deter, thereby departing from the standard game theoretic solution concepts. It is a misfit model in relation to a deterrence theory and, therefore, excluded. The article defends and remodels Schelling’s intuition by employing the level-k model. It is shown that an unsophisticated player that randomizes over its strategies brings about an advantageous outcome. The model also shows that the belief that a player randomizes has the same deterrent effect, as an actual stochastic choice, like Schelling suggested. While this means Schelling’s idea can be saved, it is still problematic how we should view contributions of bounded rationality in relation to current deterrence theory. The article suggests that separating the purpose of a model in conjunction with allowing other scientific ideals than model-theory coherence permits a broader and philosophically sounder approach.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. Vol. 94, no 4, p. 575-591
Keywords [en]
Deterrence, Game Theory, Bounded Rationality, Level-k
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
War Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-10959DOI: 10.1007/s11238-022-09907-7OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-10959DiVA, id: diva2:1677964
Available from: 2022-06-28 Created: 2022-06-28 Last updated: 2023-11-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Deterrence Games for the 21st Century: Representation, Theory and Evidence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Deterrence Games for the 21st Century: Representation, Theory and Evidence
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Deterrence is the backbone of military strategy. Dissuading an opponent from taking a specific action by threat of violence is the definition of deterrence. From the outset of the Cold War there has been a strong link between the study of deterrence and game theoretic analysis. There are compelling epistemic reasons for studying deterrence as a game. By doing so, the strategic interaction between actors is placed at the centre of the analysis, mapping the possible outcomes and revealing the strategies available to the actors. Discussions about various models’ appropriateness and model comparison therefore play a central role in deterrence research; from underlying assumptions and deterrence representation to theory and evidence. This dissertation treats aspects of all of these topics. Article I, “Prospects of Deterrence – Deterrence Theory – Representation and Evidence”, analyses the relationship between model and theory and what happens to a deterrence theory when the rationality assumption is switched to a prospect theoretical utility function. Article II, “A Misfit Model – Bounded Rationality and Deterrence Representation”, defends and remodels Schelling’s idea of irrational threats for effective deterrence. Article III, “Comparable Deterrence – Target, Criteria and Purpose”, treats the issue of how one can compare game theoretic models with one another and proposes a meta-model for how this can be done. Article IV, “Deterring the Dauntless – Appraising the Effects of Naval Deterrence against the Somali Piracy”, estimates whether and to what extent Somali piracy was deterred by the naval intervention.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2022. p. 45
Series
TRITA-ABE-DLT ; 2147
Keywords
Deterrence Theory, Game Theory, Theory of Science
National Category
Philosophy
Research subject
War Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-10960 (URN)978-91-8040-101-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-05-17, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 15:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2022-07-11 Created: 2022-06-28 Last updated: 2023-11-17Bibliographically approved

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