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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The combination of perceived external decline and internal insecurity may be
particularly conducive to risk - seeking , as McDermott ( 1992 ) shows in her case
study of the U . S . decision to attempt a hostage rescue mission in Iran in 1979 .
She uses an impressive set of primary sources to demonstrate that Roosevelt
perceived that the international situation had deteriorated from one period to the
next , that by the second phase of the crisis he perceived that war was certain ,
If , for example , the person had inherited a million dollars in the interval between
making the two decisions above , it would be entirely consistent with expected '
utility theory that she should forfeit the greater chance for what is now perceived ...
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Political Implications of Loss Aversion
Prospect Theory and Soviet Policy Towards
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