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POLI 4395 CTC THe Puzzle of International Relations Essay

POLI 4395 CTC THe Puzzle of International Relations Essay


Title: Analyzing Strategic Interactions in Political Decision-Making Using Game Theory

Introduction: The Political Decision-Making Mysteries

Political scientists frequently use complex relationships among diverse actors to make decisions. Game theory, a mathematical framework extensively used to model strategic behavior, was created due to research into these interactions. This portfolio intends to investigate how game theory may be used to comprehend political decision-making procedures. This research aims to shed light on how rational-choice models can explain complex political issues through a survey of the literature, the development of a theoretical framework, and formulation of testable hypotheses.

Draft 1: Review of the Puzzle, Question, and Article

This investigation’s central mystery is how political players choose between options when faced with strategic dilemmas. The main research topic is: How can game theory be used to study and forecast political actors’ actions in tactical contexts? This riddle is crucial because it helps to understand the underlying motives and logical tactics used by people, groups, or nations in political relations.

The paper “The Rational Choice Model in International Relations” by James D. Morrow is a famous example of applying game theory to solve political conundrums. Morrow uses a formal model to examine global cooperation and conflict. His research incorporated game theory and expected utility theory to understand countries’ decisions in conflict and negotiation circumstances. While Morrow’s method offers insightful information, it is critical to evaluate the model’s underlying premises, potential drawbacks, and the degree to which it accurately depicts the complexities of real-world politics.

Literature review in Draft 2

The literature review builds on the framework of Draft 1 by analyzing five academic publications that apply game theory to analyze political decision-making. Among these, Robert Axelrod’s work stands out for examining the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” game, which highlights how logical actors can come to cooperative conclusions even when acting in their best interests. Another important study by Thomas Schelling highlights the value of commitment and communication while showcasing the effectiveness of strategic thinking in the context of nuclear deterrence.

Eleanor Powell’s research also sheds light on how game theory can be used to analyze political politics. Powell’s model clarifies how variables like voter preferences, issue salience, and information asymmetry affect candidates’ strategic decisions. The review emphasizes the changing landscape of game-theoretic studies in political science by contrasting these viewpoints with more current works, such as the study of Jennifer Gandhi on coalition building.

Draft 3: Model Construction

A formal model that encapsulates the essence of political decision-making is incorporated into the theoretical framework, which builds on the literature review. The “Chicken Game,” a well-known situation where two actors must determine whether to collaborate or compete, is the basis for the model used in this portfolio. The model considers probable outcomes, available strategies, and the actors’ interests. The idea of reputation refers to how actors consider how their acts will affect their credibility and future encounters, which is a crucial non-standard assumption introduced.

A fuller comprehension of the strategic interactions between political players is made possible by this formal approach. It becomes a potent instrument for analyzing political decision dynamics by clarifying definitions, presumptions, and the model’s structure.

Draft 4: Developing Hypotheses

With a formal model, theories can be tested to confirm the model’s accuracy in making predictions. The first hypothesis contends that when actors respect their reputation, they are more inclined to use cooperative techniques in the Chicken Game to prevent jeopardizing their credibility in subsequent interactions. According to the second hypothesis, candidates are more likely to take moderate stands in electoral politics to appeal to a larger voting base, even if their genuine opinions trend toward more radical stances.

The third hypothesis expands on Schelling’s work on deterrence by arguing that, in cases of international war, demonstrating commitment and precommitment methods can increase the credibility of threats. In order to assess the model’s implications in diverse political circumstances, researchers might use these hypotheses as a framework for empirical testing.


In conclusion, the complexity of political decision-making can be examined using a powerful lens provided by game theory. This portfolio contributes to understanding how rational-choice models can shed light on the strategic interactions present in political scenarios by combining a thorough literature survey, a clear theoretical framework, and testable hypotheses. Political scientists can gain insights into the motives and actions of political actors by integrating formal models with empirical investigation, opening the door for more thorough and foresighted studies of political phenomena.

Slides from a PowerPoint presentation

Introduction slide

A detailed description of the project’s emphasis on game theory and political judgment.

Puzzle and Research Question on Slide 2

Describe the conundrum of political decision-making and state the inquiry.

Slide 3: Review of the Article

Underline the significance of academic works in solving formal model-based political puzzles.
Mention Morrow’s work on international war as an example.

Literature Review, Slide 4,

Showcase the value of studying diverse works in politics and game theory.
Include significant works by Gandhi, Powell, Schelling, and Axelrod.

Model Development, Slide 5,

Describe the “Chicken Game” model you selected to study strategic interactions.
Describe why reputation was included as a non-standard assumption.

Slide 6: Generating Hypotheses

Describe the three hypotheses that the formal model led to.
Underline their importance in various political circumstances.

Sliding 7: Finale

Write a summary of the portfolio’s main conclusions and contributions.
Draw attention to how game theory can improve our comprehension of political decision-making.

Future Directions on Slide 8

Discuss potential directions for additional analysis and experimentation.
Insist on more political science research into rational choice theory.

POLI 4395 CTC THe Puzzle of International Relations Essay



Complete an assignment portfolio essay with examples and also a PowerPoint presentation needed. dealing with a topic of some choices I have.

game theory

The portfolio consists of a
literature review, a theory and a corresponding rational-choice formal model, and hypotheses
derived from (that is, proven to be logical implications of) the model. There are several
milestones that must be met

it is broken down in draft sections to make it seem simpler but all sections will need to correlate together in one unified final draft.

Course portfolio (40%). The centerpiece of the course is a portfolio in which students will apply

a formal model of politics to answer a puzzle in political science. The portfolio consists of a
literature review, a theory and a corresponding rational-choice formal model, and hypotheses
derived from (that is, proven to be logical implications of) the model. There are several
milestones that must be met:

o Draft 1. Puzzle, Question, and Article Review. This is a brief draft focusing on your
puzzle (see Appendix A for some ideas), its practical and disciplinary importance, and at
least one journal article or scholarly book that addresses the puzzle using a formal
model. Follow these steps to construct this initial draft (worth 25 points):
? Create a cover page. Come up with a title other than “POLI 4395 Draft” or the
like (you may want to save this part for last, since you may not know your thesis
yet); add your name and institutional affiliation (Texas A&M University – Central
? Begin the draft by offering a puzzle in politics; then establish your research
question and its importance for both political life and political science. This
should take a paragraph or two. [6 points]
? Then provide a thesis about where the solution to the puzzle may lie.
Incorporate strategic interaction between political actors in your explanation.
? Now discuss an article from an academic journal, a thesis or dissertation, or an
academic/scholarly book that used a formal (mathematical) model to address
part of all of your puzzle. If you are trying to access academic journal articles
and the like from home, then you may wish to follow the advice in Appendix B.
Once you’ve found a study with a formal model (typically expected utility theory,
game theory, or social choice theory), describe its dependent variable, its
theoretical approach (answer) to the question, its research design, and the
author’s conclusions. Conclude your discussion of the article by examining the
weaknesses of the author’s approach (especially the formal model itself, to the
extent that you can figure out what assumptions it makes) and what knowledge
we gain from the study (if any) over previous studies discussed by the author(s)
in their literature review.

o Draft 2. Literature Review. The literature review (50 points) should revise the first draft
in accordance with comments received and substantially expand the portfolio from a
discussion of one article’s approach and findings to a discussion of five such pieces of
academic literature and their approaches to the puzzle. Describe and critique the
theories and results of at least five peer-reviewed articles, dissertations/theses, or
research monographs from scholarly presses (or all of them, if five such sources do not
exist – which is the student’s burden to prove).

o Draft 3. Revision and Model Development. The student must revise the question and
literature review of the portfolio in accordance with criticism of that work. In addition,
the student must now add a formal model that addresses the issue. The model should
be fully specified – its assumptions and definitions should be clear, as should its
structure. Meeting this milestone is worth up to 75 points, depending on the quality of
the work.
? The question and literature review are worth 20 points. You will receive these
points in proportion to the amount of required revision that was made in this
draft. In other words, simply tacking the old literature review (without revisions)
onto the new draft will result in the loss of 20 points.
? Clearly stating the attributes of the formal model (e.g. a game, an expected
utility model, an evolutionary model, etc) is worth 10 points.
? Defining the non-standard terms in the model and listing its non-standard
assumptions are worth 10 points. A non-standard term or assumption is
something not already embedded in the generic class of model. For example, a
game-theoretic model of deterrence need not define terms such as strategy,
node, or Nash Equilibrium – these are part of game theory, and anyone who
understands game theory already knows what they mean. However, the term
“deterrence” would need to be defined, and any assumptions about players’
preferences would need to be clearly stated.

o Draft 4. Revision and Hypothesis Generation. The student must revise the earlier
sections of the portfolio in accordance with criticism of that work. In addition, the
student must solve the model and prove that it leads to at least three testable
hypotheses. Meeting this milestone is worth up to 100 points, depending on the quality
of the work.

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