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decision maker

Political Science
Course Code
John Haines

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Lecture 6 10/19/10 Decision Makers and Decision Making
Role of decision makers and how decisions are made
Impossible to reconstruct actual process of decision making, too complex
Attempts to understand how decision makers make decisions
Define some models in the decision making process
Focus on the individuality and rationality, to small groups, then to governments and
Individuality and rationality:
Classic rational choice model:
ochoosing what you perceive as the best option given the ability to fulfill your
objective, to maximize your expected utility
oAll information is indeed available rather a far-fetched assumption
oAssumption that you are rational and can define a hierarchy among your
options calculate the best or worst options
oDepends on expected utility you attach to decision making process
oStand-up model in economics
oInternational politics is a game of chess analysts reconstruct what happens
oLimited to IP because most of the time information is not available
oThomas Shelling strategy thinker who used game theory model to analyze
oAll the options must be on the table
oMedia is far more centralized than it used to be time pressure on making
decisions is partly due to media
oThis is ideal type of model
oRational process of thinking

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oIndividuals do not demonstrate true rationality bounded rationality
oEdward Simon underlines fact that individuals usually do not maximize
expected utilities, rather picks an object that satisfies minimal objective
oSatisfaction (based on sequence, first one that is good enough, rather than
reviewing all the options)
oBounded rationality refers to individual limited capacity to process
Irrational model:
oMore irrational (ideal type of rationality is indeed much more weaker)
oAlready difficult to quantify benefits and costs
oHow do you quantify status, capability, justice? Always part of decision
making process
oAssume it is possible to estimate utilities is indeed truly artificial
oUncertainty principle is the rule of the game
Forming alliance:
oEvaluate threat
Perception is complex enough, even if it is clear enough, you have
options to negotiate, push problem to someone else, try to remain
neutral, could balance threat (domestic or international), look at
threat that conclusion that you cant wait because threat is too serious
launch an attack
Preemption (not waiting that enemy may attack you, sense of
immediate danger) vs. prevention (attack that is not based on
immediate danger, based on what you perceive as an unacceptable
level of threat)
oJoining alliance doesnt make threat go away
Will allies keep word that they will protect me? No sure answer
Have to make plans due to uncertainty

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Rational choice has suffered
Human beings are truly irrational because we have attached different values
Decision makers want to maximize gains and minimize losses
Individuals seems to fear losses rather than look for gains willingness to take
greater risks to protect what you have, then to take what you want what you have
is more important than possible games
Prospect theory unbalance between gains and losses
Endowment effect if you gain something, the gain is new normalcy
Some mechanists that explain why we are not entirely rational
Focus on satisfaction
Preferences/objectives we have vast area of beliefs and perceptions that leaders
may have
Why an objective is pursued by decision makers
Complex realm of values, past experiences
Image of the world that a decision maker may have implicit assumption that a
leader will have of IP
Try to understand importance of a belief system in a decision making process
Any belief system is resistant to change once a belief system is created in a mind of
a leader, it is difficult for him to change those beliefs
Painful for an individual to change his mind and modify his beliefs
In order to change a belief system, new information must be brought into knowledge
must be recognized and accepted
Before 9/11, Bush had realist agenda
ofocusing on balance of power, relationship between US and China not the
role of American military to peace keep and build foreign policy
o9/11 beliefs changed completely switched mind sets to for peace keeping
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