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by: Nick Gorczany

IntroComparativeGovernment PLSC211

Nick Gorczany
GPA 3.8


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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nick Gorczany on Sunday October 11, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PLSC211 at Eastern Michigan University taught by NevenaTrajkov in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 28 views. For similar materials see /class/221472/plsc211-eastern-michigan-university in Political Science at Eastern Michigan University.

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Date Created: 10/11/15
Rational Choice Theory The llnxdividual What is Rational Choice Theory Rationality quotWanting more rather than less of a goodquot an assumption of the behavior of individuals in microeconomic models and analysis Appears in almost all economics textbook treatments of human decision making Patterns of behavior in societies re ect the choices made by individuals as they try to maximize their benefits and minimize their costs ie all political decisionsoutcomes are based on costbenefit Two assumptions about individuals39 preferences for actions Completeness all actions can be ranked in an order of preference indifference between two or more is possible Transitivity if actiOn a is preferred to a2 and action a2 is preferred to a3 then a is preferred to a3 Eg candy bars Some Other Assumptions An individual has full or perfect information about exactly What Will occur due to any choice made An individual has the cognitive ability and time to weigh every choice against every other choice How Calculated UTILITY Utility measure of the total bene t or disadvantage attaching to each of a set of alternative courses of action aka payoff function e g candy bars Snickers 5 pts Mars bar 3 pts Butterfinger lpt 3 Musketeers Opts Snickers gt Mars gt Butterfinger gt 3 Musketeers Prisoner s Dilemma wf139w xgups my Example PD payoff matrix M o l r f5 l l i Kt lv lrfit39irj ft il mutiny m a with mutjkl fr4m airwaatn quot1 U l In political science for instance the PD scenario is often used to illustrate the problem of two states engaged in an arms race Also accounts for which pieces of legislation are chosen for debate institutions act according to rational choice theory Rational Choice Democracy and the Individual Colmer RC in democracy takes things down to the micro individual level We see the players clearly grasp the tactics they employ MACRO events are often generated in ways that have not been foreseen by smaller discrete decisions THEREFORE the individual matters The choices of politicians and strategic dilemmas they face in democratic settings James Madison the self interest behavior of politicians Who seek to ful ll their ambitions for office in the context of democratic institutions 2 Types of Rational Choice Collective Action and Collective Choice Collective Action the pursuit of a goal or set of goals by more than one person ethnicity revolutions collapse of democracy Central Issue the incentives to bear the costs of political action Prisoner Dilemma game coordination game INSTITUTION FREE all about groups and individuals Collective Choice works of parliament and party groups Relationship between individual preferences and collective outcomes and the use of spatial models to provide its basic analysis INSTITUTIONS RULE GOVERNED Personal Preferences and False Preferences in Revolutions Timur Kuran Private Truths and Public Lies Analysis of information when dissidents remain uncertain of the true preferences of others they will be complacent BUT once they realizelearn others are also disaffected they may judge it safe to act out on their true preferences and turn against the government E g Communist Czechoslovakia 3 Things can happen 1 False Preferences 2 Bandwagon Effect 3 Tipping Points False Preferences Ignoring personal preference Acting out publicly displaying personal preferences will lead to less than desirable consequences Bandwagon Effect As more people come to believe in something others also quothop on the bandwagon regardless of the underlying evidence When individuals make rational choices based on the information they receive from others information cascades can quickly form in which people decide to ignore their personal information signals and follow the behavior of others Tipping Points process in which beyond a certain point the rate at which the process proceeds increases dramatically one too many Accounts for the way public demonstrations can build even in the absence of expliCit organization Kuran s model not only accounts for revolutions that occur but also for those that do not Can also explain why political regimes while illegitimate can nonetheless remain intact


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