Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is This Really True? QOTD

. Tuesday, November 15, 2011

From an article on the multidisciplinary influence of Kahneman and Tversky:

Political scientists use prospect theory to model foreign-policy decision making. Some international-relations scholars argue that cognitive biases favor hawkish policies, making wars more likely to begin and more difficult to end. (Kahneman shares that view.)
That's the only part of the article discussion IR (no hypen needed) or other political science. I'll admit that I don't follow the FP decision-making lit very closely, but this doesn't ring true to me. Yes, the classic Kahneman/Tversky prospect theory article was on my Intro to IR Theory first-year syllabus, but it was tucked into the "Other Approaches" week at the end of the semester. I have to say that I've come across few major IR articles that have explicitly adopted a behavioralist frame.

Perhaps others can fill in the gaps in my education. I welcome comment.


Phil Arena said...

It's not particularly influential in major journals, but it's definitely out there. There's usually one or two prospect theory papers at Peace Science each year, and they show up in Foreign Policy Analysis.

Kindred Winecoff said...

Yeah okay. I knew it was out there, but the article made it seem like this was a dominant strand of IR/FP research. That's not my true in my experience.

Latinamericanist said...

Only major work in PoliSci I've ever read using prospect theory is Kurt Weyland's book and article on economic reforms in Latin America. I figured back when I read it that it would become more of a trend, but that was clearly wrong.

Phil Arena said...

You're right. It's definitely not dominant.

Emmanuel said...

Look up the work of Darthmouth's Ned Lebow--hardly an obscure IR figure.

Granted, he does modify prospect theory to make it more suitable to IR-ish questions.

Is This Really True? QOTD




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