Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Rational Deterrence Theory and Comparative Case Studies

Christopher H. Achen and Duncan Snidal
World Politics
Vol. 41, No. 2 (Jan., 1989), pp. 143-169
DOI: 10.2307/2010405
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2010405
Page Count: 27
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($34.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Rational Deterrence Theory and Comparative Case Studies
Preview not available

Abstract

Several recent books have argued that comparative case studies of crises demonstrate the failure of rational-deterrence theory; they have offered certain empirical generalizations as substitutes. This paper shows that such contentions are unwarranted. First, the empirical generalizations are impressive as historical insights, but they do not meet the standards for theory set out by the most sophisticated case-study analysts themselves. Second, the "tests" of rational deterrence used in the case studies violate standard principles of inference, and the ensuing procedures are so biased as to be useless. Rational deterrence, then, is a more successful theory than portrayed in this literature, and it remains the only intellectually powerful alternative available. Case studies are essential to theory building: more efficiently than any other methods, they find suitable variables, suggest middle-range generalizations for theory to explain, and provide the prior knowledge that statistical tests require. Their loose constraints on admissible propositions and suitable evidence are appropriate and even necessary for these tasks. These same characteristics, however, inevitably undermine all attempts to construe case-study generalizations as bodies of theory or tests of hypotheses.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[143]
    [143]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
144
    144
  • Thumbnail: Page 
145
    145
  • Thumbnail: Page 
146
    146
  • Thumbnail: Page 
147
    147
  • Thumbnail: Page 
148
    148
  • Thumbnail: Page 
149
    149
  • Thumbnail: Page 
150
    150
  • Thumbnail: Page 
151
    151
  • Thumbnail: Page 
152
    152
  • Thumbnail: Page 
153
    153
  • Thumbnail: Page 
154
    154
  • Thumbnail: Page 
155
    155
  • Thumbnail: Page 
156
    156
  • Thumbnail: Page 
157
    157
  • Thumbnail: Page 
158
    158
  • Thumbnail: Page 
159
    159
  • Thumbnail: Page 
160
    160
  • Thumbnail: Page 
161
    161
  • Thumbnail: Page 
162
    162
  • Thumbnail: Page 
163
    163
  • Thumbnail: Page 
164
    164
  • Thumbnail: Page 
165
    165
  • Thumbnail: Page 
166
    166
  • Thumbnail: Page 
167
    167
  • Thumbnail: Page 
168
    168
  • Thumbnail: Page 
169
    169