Research Seeks to Model Socio-Economic Influence on Weapons Proliferation

Three-year project will develop new proliferation models for Department of Defense

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A three-year research effort seeks to develop new socio-economic models that will assist the Department of Defense in understanding the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

Shatakshee Dhongde, assistant professor of economics at Rochester Institute of Technology, is part of a multidisciplinary research team, which includes scientists and engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The team will develop models to better assess the social, political and economic factors that motivate state and non-state actors to acquire and use these weapons, also known as CBRN. The work will enhance the development of better predictive models designed to assess how and where CBRN weapons proliferate across the globe.

“There are numerous socio-economic factors such as poverty, lack of education, and political and ethnic fractionalization that may impact non-state actors to seek out and ultimately acquire CBRN weapons,” notes Dhongde. “However, there are currently few models that properly address these social and economic factors. By developing models that better address these factors we can learn more about how these weapons are acquired and help prevent their proliferation.”

Dhongde will first work to consolidate data from different sources in order to test the relationships between variables that may impact the acquisition and proliferation of CBRN weapons. The team then hopes to use the database to develop test models for future analysis.