'We Haven’t Got But One More Day': The Cuban Missile Crisis as a Dynamic Chicken Game
30 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2019 Last revised: 25 Nov 2019
Date Written: June 18, 2019
Brinkmanship is a “threat that leaves something to chance” – creating a risk of catastrophe that is high enough to deter the adversary but low enough to be acceptable to oneself. The Cuban missile crisis is offered as a classic example. We argue that in that crisis both sides lost control over the risk. We build a dynamic model of a chicken game, and use parameters based on historical narrative studies. We find that over the thirteen days of the crisis, the probability of a nuclear war got as high as 60%.
Keywords: Brinkmanship, Dynamic chicken, Cuban missile crisis
JEL Classification: C73, N42, N46, F51
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation