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QR 38 3/22/07, Strategic moves and structure-induced equilibria I. Strategic moves II. Credibility III. Strategic moves as institutional choice.

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Presentation on theme: "QR 38 3/22/07, Strategic moves and structure-induced equilibria I. Strategic moves II. Credibility III. Strategic moves as institutional choice."— Presentation transcript:

1 QR 38 3/22/07, Strategic moves and structure-induced equilibria I. Strategic moves II. Credibility III. Strategic moves as institutional choice

2 I. Strategic moves Consider the problem of deterrence by an irresolute defender. What could this defender try to do to deter? Challenger Refrain Attack Defender Acquiesce Respond SQ 2, 3 War 1, 1 Concede 3, 2

3 Making deterrence credible Two options: Commit to responding in case of attack, eliminating a branch of the game tree Change payoffs, for example by focusing on reputation

4 Strategic moves These are examples of strategic moves: attempting to change the rules and structure of a game to your own advantage. This means adding a new stage to the game, with the actor making the strategic move going first.

5 Types of strategic moves Three types of strategic moves. Credibility is always an issue. Commitments Threats Promises

6 Who makes the strategic move? The player making the strategic move goes first. Need to be more precise about what this means: The first move must be observable and irreversible. –If not observable, won’t make any difference; like moving simultaneously –If reversible, just back to playing the original game.

7 Unconditional strategic moves Commitments are unconditional strategic moves. Means saying that in the second stage of the game, I will definitely make a particular move (e.g., respond in a deterrence game). This is logically the same as changing the order of moves; e.g, as if the defender goes first.

8 Deterrence, defender can make commitment D Commit No C R ADRespond C R A D R Acq SQ 3, 2 War 1, 1 SQ 3, 2 War 1, 1 Con 2, 3

9 Deterrence with commitment D Respond Acq C C Refrain Attack Refrain Attack SQ 3, 2 W 1, 1 SQ 3, 2 Concede 2, 3

10 Conditional strategic moves Conditional (or contingent) strategic moves mean announcing a response rule or reaction function. E.g., if B chooses Y 1, A will do Z 1 ; if B chooses Y 2, a will do Z 2, …

11 Conditional moves Conditional moves will only work for A if: A can wait until after B has moved to respond A can observe B’s move B’s move is irreversible Conditional moves can be used to deter (deterrence) or compel (compellance).

12 Conditional moves Conditional moves can take the form of threats or promises. A threat says that unless B moves as A desires, A will impose a cost on B. A promise says that if B does as A desires, A will provide a reward to B.

13 II. Credibility Credibility problems are inherent to both threats and promises: If credibility weren’t at stake, the move wouldn’t fit the definition of a threat or promise as a conditional move. –E.g., if a deterrent threat were credible because the defender was unhappy with the SQ and planning to fight a war anyway, B would know that fighting was inevitable and the threat wouldn’t have deterrent value.

14 Credibility Threats must be costly to both parties True strategic moves cause mutual harm. A threat is an implicit promise not to take a costly action if the other party behaves as desired. Both the threat and the implied promise must be credible.

15 Tying hands Analysis of threats demonstrates that sometimes reducing the options available to you is to your advantage. For example, saying that a defender will always respond to an attack eliminates the acquiesce branch of the game tree and is beneficial to the defender This insight runs against the conventional wisdom of diplomacy, which stresses the importance of flexibility

16 Promises Similar analysis applies to promises: They must be costly for the promiser to carry out They imply a threat So they have the same credibility problems as threats –E.g, consider U.S. offer of aid to Turkey to use its bases for the war in Iraq. If it weren’t costly for the U.S. to provide this aid, Turkey would get the money regardless of whether it cooperated, and the promise would be ineffective.

17 Creating credibility Two general methods for creating credibility are: Giving up freedom to act Changing payoffs Examples involve making an unconditional commitment

18 Chicken example Giving up freedom to act: SwerveStraight Swerve0, 0-1, 1 Straight1, -1-2, -2 J Commit No D SwerveStraight 1, -1-2, -2

19 Chicken example Changing payoffs SwerveStraight Swerve0, 0-1, 1 Straight1, -1-2, -2 J D No Put reputation on the line SwerveStraight Swerve-3, 0-4, 1 Straight1, -1-2, -2

20 Effectiveness of commitments Unconditional commitments aren’t likely to work if the other player has a dominant strategy: Open trade Close Open4, 33, 4 Close2, 11, 2 U.S. Japan

21 Effectiveness of commitments Japan has a dominant strategy to close. If US unconditionally closes, it won’t force Japan to open; J still prefers to close So if US wants to force J open, has to use a conditional threat to close only if J does. This has an implicit promise of opening if J does. How to make this credible? –Legal change, delegation to agency or IO.

22 Threats and promises compared A threat is costless if it works. So the size of the threat may be irrelevant; or it could matter for credibility. One tactic is to create only the risk of a large punishment (brinksmanship). Since promises are costly if successful, they have to be “just big enough.”

23 Effectiveness of unconditional commitments When is being able to make an unconditional commitment not to your advantage? In a game with a second-mover advantage (military tactics, being able to respond to what opponent chooses). But having the option of making a threat or promise is always to your advantage. Never desirable to be threatened. Often desirable to give others the option of making a promise to you.

24 Credibility in IR How to acquire credibility in IR? Automatic fulfillment (doomsday devices) Delegation Burning bridges Reputation (linkage across issues or through time) Divide interaction into small steps Teamwork (ethnic conflict) Irrationality (nuclear threats) Brinksmanship

25 III. Strategic moves as institutional choice We can apply this type of analysis to the study of institutions (BdM chapter, Shepsle). Institution = the rules of a game. Who can play Order of moves Options at each decision node

26 Institutional choice We know that rules can make a big difference to the outcome of a game, so institutions should matter. This is what BdM labels the strategic approach to intl. institutions and regimes. States build and choose institutions This is a strategic move: choose institutions by anticipating their effects on outcomes.

27 Institutional choice BdM’s EU example: choosing the level at which to regulate radioactivity in food. He provides ideal points and voting weights The states had a choice between qualified-majority and unanimity voting. They could calculate the results of each; appeared to choose QMV.

28 Structure-induced equilibrium Strategic moves and institutional choice are also central to the concept of structure- induced equilibrium. Remember the problem of social cycling: without agenda control, any outcome can be an equilibrium. Institutions change this, induce an equilibrium by specifying the rules. So actors behave strategically in the choice of institutions. Institutions are endogenous and consequential.

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