Avoiding Losses/taking Risks: Prospect Theory and International Conflict
University of Michigan Press, 1994 - 165 sidor
This volume is a comprehensive examination of the benefits and potential pitfalls of employing prospect theory---a leading alternative to expected utility as a theory of decision under risk---to understand and explain political behavior. The collection brings together both theoretical and empirical studies, thus grounding the conclusions about prospect theory's potential for enriching political analyses in an assessment of its performance in explaining actual cases.
The theoretical chapters provide an overview of the main hypotheses of prospect theory: people frame risk-taking decisions around a reference point, they tend to accept greater risk to prevent losses than to make gains, and they often perceive the devastation of a loss as greater than the benefit of a gain. The three case studies---Roosevelt's decision-making during the Munich crisis of 1938, Carter's April 1980 decision to rescue the American hostages in Iran, and Soviet behavior toward Syria in 1966-67---generally support these hypotheses. Nevertheless, the authors are frank about potentially difficult conceptual and methodological problems, making explicit reference to alternative explanations, such as the rational actor model, which posits the maximization of expected value.
Contributors to the volume include Jack Levy, Robert Jervis, Barbara Farnham, Rose McDermott, Audrey McInerney, and Eldar Shafir.
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A second benefit of using prospect theory to explain the Munich case is that in
suggesting a possible cause of changes in decision frames , it may contribute to
an elaboration of the theory itself . Tversky and Kahneman have said relatively
with Hitler ( brief descriptions of the Munich crisis may be found in Taylor , 1979 ,
pp . 7 - 11 ; Offner , 1969 , pp . 259 – 68 ; Divine , 1965 , pp . 51 - 55 , and 1969 ,
pp . 20 – 21 ) . On September 15 , Chamberlain met Hitler at Berchtesgaden and
Thus , although the terms of the Munich settlement were not made known until
September 30 , emotionally the crisis ended on September 28 with the
announcement of the agreement to meet . In comparison with that achievement
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