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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Interestingly , Isvestia gently criticized the Syrian regime in early September ,
indicating that the coup attempt was a response to overzealous expropriations :
Some instances of " putting the cart before the horse ...
Consequently , B will attempt to recover its losses and restore the old status quo ,
and A will attempt to maintain the new status quo against B ' s encroachments .
Each will accept larger - than - normal risks in order to maintain its version of the
That is to say , the attempt to apply prospect theory to political events may pose a
danger to the integrity of the theory itself as , for example , when an analyst faced
with a paucity of information about decision frames , utility functions , or risk ...
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Political Implications of Loss Aversion
Prospect Theory and Soviet Policy Towards
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Russell J. Leng
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