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By Kenneth A. Shepsle

Studying Politics makes the basics of rational-choice thought available to undergraduates in transparent, nontechnical language.
Through case experiences, illustrations, and examples, the writer offers scholars with the potential to research a large choice of occasions. the second one variation has been completely revised to incorporate up-to-date instances and examples, new challenge units and dialogue questions, and new “Experimental Corner” sections on the finish of many chapters, describing experiments from social technology literature.

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Additional info for Analyzing Politics: Rationality, Behavior, and Institutions (2nd Edition) (The New Institutionalism in American Politics Series)

Sample text

Note that Pt and J. are exactly like > (greater than) and = (equal to), respectively, as applied to real numbers. For real numbers x and y, either x > y, or y > x, or x = y; hence, they are comparable. Similarly, for any three numbers, x, y, and z, if x > y and y > z, then x > z; and if x = y and y = z, then x = z; hence the relations are transitive. In consequence, real num bers can be ordered in terms of magnitude. ) This is all pretty simple. Preferences that permit rational choices are, in effect, ordering principles.

If she ran and won the Senate seat in 2006, she would not enter the governor's contest in 2008. If she ran and lost the Senate seat in 2006, her prospects, as a two-time loser, of succeeding in 2008 would have been rather dim. Thus, the career outcomes facing McCaskill were these: x: a term as senator y: a term as governor z: out of politics for the near term We can be reasonably confident that McCaskill preferred x to y and y to z (and, as will be shown later in this chapter, if she weren't "incoherent" she would also certainly have pre ferred x to z).

Motivation To motivate a rational model of pohtical behavior, let's begin with a glimpse of how economists practice their craft. I sim plify shamelessly in advancing the view that economics is con cerned mainly with how four different classes of actors choose to allocate what's theirs. For the consumer the choice is one of how to spend his or her monetary endowment so as to achieve a maximum of contentment (or utility, as the economist likes to say). Producers, on the other hand, possess various produc tive inputs and must determine how best to combine them so as to maximize their profits.

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