POLI 142K Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Rational Expectations, Falsifiability, Rationality

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Published on 8 Sep 2015
Political Science
Poli Sci 142K:
Politics and Warfare
Spring 2015
The Combat Contract
Week 10, Wednesday, June 3
I. The Combat Contract
A. Core Hypothesis: The level or type of compliance is a falsifiable function of the costs and
benefits of compliance
1. Benefits can also be described as utilities or payoffs
2. Efficient logistics, efficient leadership, and cohesion can reduce but not eliminate the core
cost of compliance
a. Core cost: risk of mortal peril
b. The “as if” or tacit contract: a level of compliance tied to payoffs
II. Rationality and combat compliance, minimal assumption: rational expectations: combatants have
transitively ordered preferences (A > B > C → A > C) and certain beliefs, but face uncertainty;
when uncertainty is resolve, those beliefs are true or revised
A. Preferences: personal survival > comply > defeat
B. Cause and effect
C. Present and future (time)
D. Transparency of commands
III. The rational voter and the rational soldier
A. Rational voter: R = PB + D – C (probability (P) of a material payoff (B), plus direct benefits of
voting (D), minus costs (C))
B. Rational soldier: (R = material incentives + moral incentives – costs)
C. Level (type) of compliance = (“benefits” – costs of compliance – costs of non-compliance)
D. Compliance is a function of the balance of situational costs and benefits, or (benefits – costs of
compliance 1 – costs of compliance 2; B – C1 – C2)
E. Costs of noncompliance = material (punishment); moral (shame, guilt, honor)
F. Compliance and volunteering vs. conscription: who complies more?
G. Compliance continuum
*An apparent paradox: As the scale of combat has increased (from 1,000s to 100,000s), what
incentive does a rational soldier have to comply as opposed to shirk if the power of a soldier is the
same as a power of a vote? Answers:
H. Necessity
I. Framing: not “I can do it,” but “we will do it” (“me” vs. “we”)
J. If others comply, I will comply
K. Cause and effect rationality
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