Tyler Bowen is a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at M.I.T. He is visiting from Yale University, where he is a Ph. D. Candidate in Political Science. He received his M. Phil. from Yale in 2018 and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2015. His research examines the various ways in which nuclear weapons affect international politics. He is currently working on a dissertation entitled The Logic of Escalation and the Benefits of Conventional Power Preponderance. He uses a theory of the limits to the credibility of nuclear deterrence to craft a theory of escalation between different levels of conflict. From this theory, he predicts that the variety of conventional capabilities, or the ability to win at various levels of conventional conflict, shapes bargaining outcomes between nuclear states. He tests this theory using quantitative analysis of nuclear crises as well as case studies of individual crises. This argument has implications for the incentives to maintain conventional power preponderance and for the grand strategic choices of the United States.
Tyler's interests in the limits of nuclear deterrence and the continued benefit of conventional military power also inform his research on the nuclear taboo. Together with co-authors, he uses a series of choice and survey experiments to argue that the public exhibits a weak taboo against the use of nuclear weapons. This can constrain policymakers' decisions to use nuclear weapons even though the public thinks about nuclear use in a rational way.