The Risk of War with North Korea is Teensy

The risk of war with North Korea is small, mostly because war is a very rare event in the international system. Bennett and Stam found that the risk of war in a single directed-dyad year (e.g., U.S.-North Korea in 2013) is 0.000065. Now, this current situation is much more dangerous than your average directed dyad (e.g., U.S.-Uruguay in 1996), but my guess is even if you plugged all the variables into your handy-dandy war predicting machine, you would not get much above a 2 percent risk of war onset. With that said, since the potential costs of a North Korean conflagration likely reach hundreds of thousands of casualties, the expected value of war with the Norks is unpleasantly high (let’s say, 200,000 casualties x .02 = 4,000). By comparison, there is an approximately 100% chance that 30,000 Americans will die in car accidents this year. With all of that said, I fully support anyone that wants to engage in Doomsday Prepping, because it just makes for quality television.

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4 thoughts on “The Risk of War with North Korea is Teensy

  1. Wrong frame. Studies like Bennett/Stam are useful for judging war “at rest.” You can call what we are in a “crisis” situation a la the ICB where war rates tend to be closer to 10% and violence rates north of 40-50%. Still less likely to happen than not, but this is a very, very weird situation and pattern of escalation. I don’t know why everyone is so confident this bizarre case will follow the “normal rules.”

  2. For the sake of it, let’s assume a 2% risk of war, since that the armistice was signed 60 years ago now, aren’t we due?

  3. Pingback: North Korea and the likelihood of World War III | Ghost Agenda

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