Achieving Minimum Deterrence: A New Dyadic Dataset on Strategic Nuclear Weapons Delivery Capabilities

Kyungwon Suh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper argues that existing quantitative studies mistakenly assume that all nuclear states can impose nuclear destruction on opponents by simply distinguishing nuclear states from non-nuclear states. This practice, however, does not capture variation in 1) nuclear states’ possession of delivery capabilities, 2) the range of deployed nuclear delivery systems, and 3) the geographic distance between nuclear states and their dyadic counterparts. Instead of this monadic nuclear statehood approach, I propose the dyadic nuclear reach approach, which uses a new dyad-specific measure of states’ strategic nuclear delivery capabilities. It codes whether a nuclear state can launch a nuclear strike against a given opponent by using the information about the estimated range of each nuclear state’s strategic nuclear delivery platforms, nuclear operation bases, and states’ capital cities. An empirical application shows that using an appropriate measure of nuclear capabilities does significantly alter existing empirical knowledge of nuclear weapons and international conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1045
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2024
Externally publishedYes


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