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Research Bets and Behavioral IR

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 April 2017

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Abstract

Behavioral IR faces a fundamental challenge. The actors in most IR models and theories are not individuals—they are aggregates like states, ministries, interest groups, political parties, and rebel factions. There are two broad approaches to attempting to integrate behavioral research about individuals. The first, a quasi-behavioral approach, makes nonstandard assumptions about the preferences, beliefs, or decision-making processes of aggregate actors. The second tries to build theories in which the key actors are individuals. Pursuing the former means that the assumptions about actors will be only weakly linked to the empirical findings propelling behavioral research. The second approach faces formidable obstacles that international relations theory has confronted for a long time and for the most part has not overcome.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The IO Foundation 2017 

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