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By George Tsebelis

Truly written and simply understood by means of the nonspecialist, Nested video games presents a scientific, empirically exact, and theoretically coherent account of it sounds as if irrational political activities.

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Additional resources for Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics (California Series On Social Choice and Political Economy)

Sample text

In fact, if they had withdrawn their candidate in the first or second round, the duel between Kekkonen and Paasikivi would have ended in Kekkonen's defeat, as the Socialists would have wished in such a case. Why didn't they follow such a strategy? If strategic voting for the Communists was not the mistake it appeared at first glance, but rational (that is, optimizing) behavior, and if strategic voting was available to the Socialists, then the Socialists chose a suboptimal option: to vote sincerely.

Such contextual factors influence the payoffs of the actors in one arena, leading to the choice of different strategies; therefore, the outcomes of the game are different when contextual factors are taken into account. In the case of institutional design, a rational actor seeks to increase the number of alternatives, thereby enlarging his strategy space. Instead of confining himself to a choice among available strategies, he redefines the rules of the entire game, choosing among a wider set of options.

Systems analysis (Easton 1957), structuralism (Holt 1967), functionalism of the Right (Parsons 1951) or of the Left (Holloway and Picciotto 1978), and modernization theories (Apter 1965) are prominent representatives of this approach. Explanations of social or political phenomena are given in holistic terms, in reference to the system as a whole. Although the existence of rational actors is not denied, the study of their decision-making processes is considered secondary or unimportant. Valid explanations are either causal or functional.

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