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A Game-Theoretic History of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Department of Political Science, University at Buffalo SUNY, 504 Park Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA
Received: 4 December 2013; in revised form: 4 January 2014 / Accepted: 14 January 2014 / Published: 22 January 2014
Abstract: This study surveys and evaluates previous attempts to use game theory to explain the strategic dynamic of the Cuban missile crisis, including, but not limited to, explanations developed in the style of Thomas Schelling, Nigel Howard and Steven Brams. All of the explanations were judged to be either incomplete or deficient in some way. Schelling’s explanation is both empirically and theoretically inconsistent with the consensus interpretation of the crisis; Howard’s with the contemporary understanding of rational strategic behavior; and Brams’ with the full sweep of the events that define the crisis. The broad outlines of a more general explanation that addresses all of the foundational questions associated with the crisis within the confines of a single, integrated, game-theoretic model with incomplete information are laid out.
Keywords: Cuban missile crisis; game theory; threat that leaves something to chance; metagame theory; theory of moves; analytic narrative
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Zagare, F.C. A Game-Theoretic History of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Economies 2014, 2, 20-44.
Zagare FC. A Game-Theoretic History of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Economies. 2014; 2(1):20-44.
Zagare, Frank C. 2014. "A Game-Theoretic History of the Cuban Missile Crisis." Economies 2, no. 1: 20-44.