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"Exporting the Bomb: Why States Provide Sensitive Nuclear Assistance"

Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan helped Pakistan to distribute sensitive nuclear material and technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea from 1987–2002

"Exporting the Bomb: Why States Provide Sensitive Nuclear Assistance"

Journal Article, American Political Science Review, volume 103, issue 1

February 2009

Author: Matthew Kroenig, Former Research Fellow, Project on Managing the Atom/International Security Program, 2007–2008

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security; Managing the Atom; Science, Technology, and Public Policy


Why do states provide sensitive nuclear assistance to nonnuclear weapon states, contributing to the international spread of nuclear weapons? Using a new dataset on sensitive nuclear transfers, this paper analyzes the determinants of sensitive nuclear assistance. Dr. Kroenig first describes a simple logic of the differential effects of nuclear proliferation, which is used to generate hypotheses about the conditions under which states provide sensitive nuclear assistance. He then shows that the strategic characteristics of the potential nuclear suppliers are the most important determinants of sensitive nuclear assistance. Explanations that emphasize the importance of economic motivations do not find support in the data. This paper presents a new approach to the study of the spread of nuclear weapons, focusing on the supply side of nuclear proliferation.


For more information about this publication please contact the MTA Program Assistant at 617-495-4219.

For Academic Citation:

Kroenig, Matthew. "Exporting the Bomb: Why States Provide Sensitive Nuclear Assistance." American Political Science Review 103, no. 1 (February 2009).

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