Dr. Rupal N. Mehta is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Previously, she was Stanton Nuclear Security Postdoctoral Fellow in the Belfer Center's International Security Program and Project on Managing the Atom at Harvard University. Her research interests lie in international security and conflict, with a specialization in nuclear nonproliferation/counter-proliferation, extended deterrence, nuclear latency, force structure, and deterrence and coercion strategy. Dr. Mehta's book, The Politics of Nuclear Reversal, explores the conditions under which states that have started nuclear weapons programs stop their pursuit. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Strategic Studies, The Washington Quarterly and her commentary has been published in the Washington Post, War on the Rocks, International Studies Quarterly, and the Washington Post's Monkey Cage. She received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego, and B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Conflict Processes & War
Research Methods & Research Design
My research interests lie in international security and conflict behavior, with a specialization in nuclear nonproliferation/counter-proliferation, extended deterrence/international institutions, nuclear latency, force structure, and deterrence and coercion strategy.
My first project examines the role of exogenous strategic influence, namely that of the United States, on incentivizing changes in nuclear decision-making. The core of this research project is my first book, Delaying Doomsday: The Politics of Nuclear Reversal (Forthcoming, Oxford University Press), that explores the conditions under which states that have started nuclear weapons programs stop their pursuit as a result of pressure from the United States.
In related articles and book project, my co-author and I examine how uncertainty over the costs of acquiring nuclear weapons impacts the likelihood of counterproliferation agreements across a variety of theoretical conditions and cases. We focus how the informational environment nonproliferation advocates face explains nuclear outcomes.
Additionally, I have on-going co-authored research projects on nuclear latency or the precursor technology prior to nuclear weaponization. One paper that examines the effects of nuclear latency is forthcoming at International Studies Quarterly. Related pieces on the Iran nuclear deal have been published in The Washington Quarterly, and in an edited volume entitled , US Foreign Policy in a Challenging World - Building Order on Shifting Foundations. Other papers on nuclear latency explore its security and energy determinants, its impact on trust in the international system, and its relationship to counterproliferation policy, are all under review.
My third project explores how international institutions, including alliances, are impacted by nuclear technology. A first co-authored paper on extended nuclear deterrence and moral hazard is currently accepted at the Journal of Conflict Resolution. Another paper under review, examines whether allies of nuclear patrons are able to gain concessions through diplomacy. Lastly, an article that explores the impact of emerging technologies on assurance and deterrence is forthcoming with the Journal of Strategic Studies.
Finally, a fourth project examines the causes and consequences of nuclear force structure. Using original data that we collected, my co-authors and I focus on why states choose to develop specific force postures (this piece was published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution and an edited volume entitled, Nonproliferation Policy and Nuclear Posture: Causes and Consequences for the Spread of Nuclear Weapons.