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decision-makers, decision-making (own notes)

Political Science
Course Code
John Haines

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Decisions & Decision Makers
Realism emphasizes self-help and survival.
Constructivism considers change.
Until recently, (20-35 years ago) political science in international relations
was very reluctant to change. The box of decision making for the most part
was left closed. But we know have a better understanding of international
and internal relations. Today we will be looking at the individual,
government, and small groups. There are different models of choice – the
first of these models is the most well-known rational choice model. At its
core, it is about purpose “I select an option because I want to pursue that
goal”. You analyze all the options available, and you maximize expected
utility of the consequences. It is instrumental – it is assumed that a) you have
all the required information b) all the options are in front of your eyes c) this
option can receive a hierarchy or ranking so that you can make a calculation
between cost and benefit. The right choice model is a model where you
represent a choice by given expected utility to your option. The next step is
game theory – modeling interaction between individuals. Analysts use this
with states. The right choice model gives an image of international relations
as a game of chess – where one move leads to other possible moves of your
opponent. It is inspired by economics. These formal games help us to explain
the likelihood of cooperation vs. the likelihood of conflict. They may help us
to explain some optimal results – and indeed John Nash received a noble
price for his work on game theory. The game theory can be applied to the
Cold War. The limits of this model are endless as they are based on
assumptions – ex// in real life we hardly ever had all the required
information, and information tends to be ambiguous or contradictory.
Therefore to make sense of information is already difficult. If you are in a
crisis situation, you may not have the necessary time to acquire all these
options you would need experts. The right choice model therefore is an
ideal model, but it still constitutes the core of political science.
Limited Rationality Model
This model takes into account a legal mold in the way humans interact. Eric
Simon believed that individuals don’t maximize utility, for them maximization
but instead we just aim for satisfaction. What a decision maker will often do
is pick up the first that satisfies his outcome. In other words, it is a
sequences process whereby the first option that comes up that is good
enough will be in fact chosen. It my not be the best one, it just is the first
one. The first one that satisfies your goal roughly. The model of
“donderationality” is closer to our actual decision making process.
Lastly, there are concepts that modify these two models. Some may be seen
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