The Assassin and the Donor as third players in the traditional deterrence game

Lisa J. Carlson, Raymond Dacey


We develop two extensions of the traditional deterrence game to examine the influence of third players, called Assassin and Donor, upon the behavior of a Challenger. The results present the optimal behavior of Challenger when Assassin and Donor are included in the traditional deterrence game. The key result is that Challengers who back down, and thereby activate Assassin or Donor, are more prone to initiate conflict in the first place than are Challengers who escalate, and thereby avoid Assassin or Donor.


Deterrence game; game theory; third-party player

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