Research on nuclear security has gone quantitative. Rapid growth in empirical approaches to the consequences of nuclear weapons in recent years promises to settle some controversies, even as it initiates or resurrects debates that may eventually be resolved with better estimates or data. The toolkit for studying nuclear security had long been bereft of quantitative approaches, undermining the virtuous cycle between theory and evidence. New data and growing confidence in statistical approaches have finally produced a systematic empirical literature on the consequences of nuclear weapons. We review existing studies, organizing the literature along thematic lines. We also discuss challenges facing the emergent quantitative literature and suggest several avenues for future research. Although the terminus of the basic research agenda has been anticipated more than once, the literature on nuclear consequences has shown a remarkable ability to generate novel and often unexpected research questions.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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