Choice-Making Theories

  • Xinsheng Liu
Part of the Advances in Foreign Policy Analysis book series (AFPA)


The discipline of international relations explores how nation-states interact with each other. There are numerous theoretical approaches to the study of these international interactions. In one approach, scholars examine the association between patterns of interstate behavior and the systemic structure of world politics based on universal assumptions about nation-state’s motivation, behavior, and interaction (Morgenthau 1967; Organski 1968; Waltz 1979; Bueno de Mequista 1980; Organski and Kugler 1980; Gilpin 1981; Modelski 1987). In another approach, scholars infer the patterns of state-to-state interaction from nation-states’ domestic attributes (Tanter 1966; Rummel 1968; Putnam 1988; Bueno de Mesquita and Lalman 1992). The choice-making approach to international relations investigates how foreign policy decisions are made by focusing on national foreign policy decision-making structures, processes, and outcomes. Choice-making in foreign affairs involves the analysis of past and current data, the assessment of available options for national action, and the identification of final policy choice. The significance of the choice-making approach lies in the contention that world politics and interstate relations cannot be explained with theories that exclude the structures and processes of national foreign policy decision-making.


Decision Maker Foreign Policy Game Model Expected Utility Theory Political Choice 
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© Xinsheng Liu 2006

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  • Xinsheng Liu

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