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Deterrence with Proxies

PI: Eli Berman, University of California, San Diego

Year selected for award: 2014

Deterrence with Proxies

Principal Investigator: Eli Berman, University of California, San Diego

Co-Investigators: Stephen Biddle, Columbia University; Joseph Felter, Stanford University; Esteban Klor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; David Laitin, Stanford University; David Lake, University of California, San Diego; Gerard Padro i Miguel, Yale University; Jacob Shapiro, Princeton University; Oliver Vanden Eynde, Paris School of Economics; Pierre Yared, Columbia University

Years of Award: 2014-2019

Supporting Service Agency: Office of Naval Research

Project Description

The objective of the Deterrence with Proxies project is to develop and test a parsimonious game theoretic model of sub-state threat suppression through proxies. We have created and tested a model that can describe the strategic challenge of managing proxies in providing international security, specifically in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. In year one, it became clear that US military practitioners had a competing doctrine in mind, in which the proxy fails to suppress threats because it lacks capacity, so that the principal should build proxy capacity to achieve success. This is easily refuted by evidence of proxies diverting capacity to uses other than threat suppression. Ongoing research is expanding the model and testing proxy capacity building among actions a principal can take.  

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