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Decision-makers, Decision-making

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Political Science
John Haines

International Relations: Week 6 - October 19, 2010 Decision-Making Individual Rational Classic Rational Choice Model: - About choosing what you perceive as the best option given the ability to fulfill your objective - Some assumptions: o All information is available, farfetched assumption o You are rational, you are able to define a hierarchy among your options, able to calculate the costs and benefits attached to the options - Has given rise to Game theory, formal ways of analysing decision-making o International Politics is a game of Chess, one move leads to another o Formal way of looking at international politics o Useful when looking at deterrence - Limited model as all the information is most of the time not available, amount of uncertainty is much larger than certainties - Goal must be precisely defined, not always clear - All options must be on the table, today decision makers }L[ZooZ]K]LZ}o7 cycle of news media is a huge pressure on leaders making decisions o Kennedy in 1962 was able to control the media, today, impossible, leaks are part of the daily life, media far more decentralized than it used to be, time pressure on decisions are enormous - Bounded rationality (vs. Instrumental rationality), a rational process of thinking but the advancement of cognitive psychology has shown that individuals do not demonstrate very often a true instrumental rationality (bounded rationality) o Often individuals do not maximise expected utility, rather they will pick an option that satisfies their minimal objective o With satisfaction it is based on a sequence rather than a calculation o Decision maker ]ooZ}}L Z[Z}LL}]}LZKZZ]ZZ]Z ]}L ]]7 first one that seems to be good enough o Do not review all the options, pick first one that seems good enough - Utility: rational choice model makes assumption of an individual to attach an expected utility to an outcome o In world politics, difficult to quantify benefits and costs, unless linked to military capabilities, resources, then you can make an educated guess o Impossible to quantify intangible factors (e.g. justice, status), most of the time artificial to estimate utility (uncertainty principle) E.g. Choice of state to enter an alliance, leader has to assess the existence of a threat that would justify finding allies in order to combat the threat
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