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  • Cited by 8
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Gartzke, Erik and Kroenig, Matthew 2016. Nukes with Numbers: Empirical Research on the Consequences of Nuclear Weapons for International Conflict. Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 19, Issue. 1, p. 397.

    Mattiacci, Eleonora and Jones, Benjamin T. 2016. (Nuclear) Change of Plans: What Explains Nuclear Reversals?. International Interactions, Vol. 42, Issue. 3, p. 530.

    Bell, Mark S. 2015. Beyond Emboldenment: How Acquiring Nuclear Weapons Can Change Foreign Policy. International Security, Vol. 40, Issue. 1, p. 87.

    Butt, Ahsan I. 2015. Do nuclear weapons affect the guns-butter trade-off? Evidence on nuclear substitution from Pakistan and beyond. Conflict, Security & Development, Vol. 15, Issue. 3, p. 229.

    Kroenig, Matthew 2015. The History of Proliferation Optimism: Does It Have a Future?. Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 38, Issue. 1-2, p. 98.

    Long, Austin and Green, Brendan Rittenhouse 2015. Stalking the Secure Second Strike: Intelligence, Counterforce, and Nuclear Strategy. Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 38, Issue. 1-2, p. 38.

    Monteiro, Nuno P. and Debs, Alexandre 2014. The Strategic Logic of Nuclear Proliferation. International Security, Vol. 39, Issue. 2, p. 7.

    Oelrich, Ivan 2014. The Insurer’s Fallacy and the value of nuclear weapons. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 70, Issue. 4, p. 69.


Nuclear Superiority and the Balance of Resolve: Explaining Nuclear Crisis Outcomes

  • Matthew Kroenig (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 16 January 2013

Scholars have long debated whether nuclear superiority or the balance of resolve shapes the probability of victory in nuclear crises, but they have not clearly articulated a mechanism linking superiority to victory, nor have they systematically analyzed the entire universe of empirical cases. Beginning from a nuclear brinkmanship theory framework, I develop a new theory of nuclear crisis outcomes, which links nuclear superiority to victory in nuclear crises precisely through its effect on the balance of resolve. Using a new data set on fifty-two nuclear crisis dyads, I show that states that enjoy nuclear superiority over their opponents are more likely to win nuclear crises. I also find some support for the idea that political stakes shape crisis outcomes. These findings hold even after controlling for conventional military capabilities and for selection into nuclear crises. This article presents a new theoretical explanation, and the first comprehensive empirical examination, of nuclear crisis outcomes.

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