Robert Powell (image from

Robert Powell

Professor of Political Science
Dept of Political Science
(510) 642-4635
(510) 642-9515
Research Expertise and Interest
political science, game theory, international relations, formal theory and methods, nuclear deterrence theory, credibility, international conflict
Research Description

Robert Powell joined the Berkeley faculty in 1990 after previously teaching at the University of Michigan (1985-87) and Harvard (1987-90). He specializes in the use of game theory to study international conflict and political conflict more generally. He is the author of Nuclear Deterrence Theory: The Search for Credibility (Cambridge University Press, 1990); In the Shadow of Power: States and Strategies in International Politics (Princeton University Press, 1999); “Nuclear Deterrence Theory, Nuclear Proliferation, and National Missile Defense” (International Security, 2003); “The Inefficient Use of Power: Costly Conflict with Complete Information,” American Political Science Review (June 2004), “War as a Commitment Problem,” International Organization (Winter 2006), and “Monopolizing Violence and Consolidating Power” (Quarterly Journal of Economics) 2013. He holds a B.S. in mathematics from Harvey Mudd College ; an M.Phil in international relations from Cambridge University; and a PhD in economics from Berkeley. He has been a Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012, he won the National Academy of Science’s prize for behavior research relevant to the prevention of nuclear war.

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