Chapter 2 outline.docx

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University of California - Los Angeles
Political Science
Leslie Johns

World Politics Chapter 2 – Understanding Interests, Interactions, and Institutions – Outline I. Introduction a. Interests are the fundamental building blocks of politics. Explanations of international political events begin by specifying the relevant actors and their interests. b. Cooperation is a type of interaction involving two or more actions working together to achieve a preferred outcome. Successful cooperation depends on the number and relative sizes of actors involved, the number of interactions among the actors, and the accuracy of the information they possess. c. Bargaining is a type of interaction involving the distribution of a fixed value. That is, if one actor gets more, someone else necessarily gets less. In bargaining, outcomes depend on what will happen in the event that no agreement is reached. Actors derive power from their ability to make the consequences of no agreement less attractive for the other side. d. Institutions are sets of rules. Actors comply with institutions because they facilitate cooperation and lower the cost of joint decision-making in the pursuit of valued goals. e. Institutions also bias policy outcomes. Rules restrain what actors can and cannot do, and thus they make some outcomes more or less likely. Actors struggle over institutions in efforts to bias policy toward outcomes they prefer. II. Interests: What Do Actors Want from Politics? a. Interests – what actors want to achieve through political actions; their preferences over the outcomes that might result from their political choices i. Fundamental building blocks of any political analysis ii. Determine how actors rank the desirability of different possible outcomes b. Interests are typically group interests into three categories: power or security, economic or material welfare, and ideological goals i. Much debate over whether one of these interests is more universal or true than others c. Actors and Interests i. Actors – the basic unit for analysis of international politics; can be individuals or groups of people with common interests 1. Individuals are the ultimate political actors; states, institutions, and groups can also serve as actors ii. State – a central authority that has the ability to make and enforce laws, rules, and decisions within its territory iii. Sovereignty – the expectation that states have legal and political supremacy-or ultimate authority-within their territorial boundaries iv. States have two identities as actors 1. Sometimes motivated by an interest in security (safety from external and internal threats) which are said to be national interests 2. Can also be the shorthand for sets of national leaders acting in the name of their countries a. State leaders can promote their own interests or speak on behalf of groups v. There is no fixed or permanent set of actors in IR – it is simply an analytic concept that is imposed on explanations ACTOR COMMON INTERESTS EXAMPLES States Security, power, wealth, U.S., Canada, China, ideology Switzerland, India Politicians Reelection/retention of President of the US, Prime office, ideology, policy Minister of Great Britain, goals Speaker of U.S. House Firms, Industries, or Wealth, profit General Motors, Sony, business associations pharmaceutical industry, National Association of Manufacturers Bureaucracies Budget maximization, Dept. of Defense, Dept. of influence, policy Commerce, National preferences, “where you Security Council, Ministry stand depends on where you of Foreign Affairs sit” International As composites of states, United Nations, organizations they reflect interests of International Monetary member states according to Fund, International Postal voting power. As Union, Organization for organizations, they are Economic Cooperation and assumed to be similar to Development domestic bureaucracies. Nongovernmental Normative, ideological, Red Cross, Amnesty organizations (NGOs); policy goals, human rights, International, Greenpeace, often transnational or environment, religion Catholic Church international in scope of membership III. Interactions: Why Can’t an Actor Always Get What It Wants? a. Actors make choices to further interests but outcomes also depend on the choices of other actors as well i. Interests are essential to analyzing events because they represent how actors rank alternative outcomes b. Interactions – the ways in which the choices of two or more actors combine to produce political outcomes i. Interactions are called strategic because they depend on the anticipated strategy of others c. Two assumptions are made in studying interactions i. Actors are purposive – behave with the intention of producing a desired result ii. Actors adopt strategies to obtained desired outcomes given what they believe are the interests and subsequent actions of others d. Cooperation and Bargaining i. Cooperation – when two or more actors adopt policies that make at least one actor better off (Pareto improvement) 1. It may make interacting players better off but can hurt other parties (not always a clear unmitigated good) 2. Graphically, cooperation is feasible when the status quo is inside the possibilities line (anything on the line is Pareto efficient) and at least slightly better than the status quo for a given player ii. Bargaining – an interaction in which actors must choose outcomes that make one better off at the expense of another. Bargaining is redistributive; it involves allocating a fixed sum of value between different actors. 1. Graphically, any move along the Pareto frontier is a form of bargaining (the increased welfare of one player is the result of loss for another player) iii. Most IR interactions combine elements of both cooperation and bargaining e. When Can Actors Cooperate? i. Situations arise when actors have a collective interest in cooperating but they still defect, implementing an uncooperative strategy ii. Coordination – a type of cooperative interaction in which actors benefit from all making the same choices and subsequently have no incentive to not comply 1. Example: BoS, driving on the same side of the road iii. Collaboration – a type of cooperative interaction in which actors gain from working together but nonetheless have incentives to not comply with any agreement 1. Example: Prisoners Dilemma, Stag Hunt, arms race between U.S. and Soviet Union during Cold War 2. Key feature: dominant strategy to defect but both players are better off if they both cooperate iv. Public goods – individually and socially desirable goods that are nonexcludable and nonrival in consumption, such as national defense 1. Examples: national defense, clean air and water v. Collective action problems – obstacles to cooperation that occur when actors have incentives to collaborate but each acts in anticipation that others will pay the costs of cooperation 1. Each person aims to enjoy benefits of public good without the cost of contributing 2. Incentive of a free ride – to fail to contribute to a public good while benefiting from the contributions of others 3. Result of this problem is public goods nearly always provided by governments, which have power to force cooperation (taxes, mandates, etc.) 4. Becomes more difficult in the international front when there is no authority that can mandate contributions vi. Numbers and Relative Sizes of the Actors 1. Cooperation is easier with a smaller number of actors a. They can monitor each others behavior more 2. With public goods, there may groups that are smaller that are willing to pay for the entire public good since they receive benefits from the good that offset the entire costs of providing a. Called “privileged” groups vii. Iterations, Linkage, and Strategies of Reciprocal Punishment 1. Cooperation more successful when players have opportunities to cooperate over time a. Incentive to defect can be curbed when there are multiple interactions with the same player b. Iteration – repeated interactions with the same partners 2. Good behavior is induced by the fear of losing benefits from cooperation in the future 3. Linkage – the linking of cooperation on one issue to interactions on a second issue a. Allows victims of uncooperative defection to retaliate on other issues viii. Information 1. Cooperation or defection is easy to observe with public acts such as military participation 2. If cooperation involves reducing armaments, secret actions make it harder to ensure cooperation is happening 3. Cooperation can fail due to uncertainty and misperception when actors lack information 4. Misconception can lead to retaliation on a cooperative player who now chooses to also defect 5. Example: Hussein actually dismantled his WMD programs but was reluctant revealing the information because he wanted the possibility of such weapons to deter domestic insurgents f. Who Wins and Who Loses in Bargaining? i. Power – the ability of actor A to get actor B to do something that B would otherwise not do; the ability to get the other side to make concessions and to avoid having to make concessions oneself. 1. The more power an actor has, the more it can expect to get from others ii. Reversion outcome – the outcome that occurs when no bargain is reached 1. Can sometimes be the same as the status quo 2. Failures at bargaining over cooperation can result in collective benefits being enjoyed by both parties 3. Actor more satisfied with reversion outcomes has less incentive to make concessions for a successf
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