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date: 11 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the decision-making models and biases used to explain the decisions of political leaders with a particular emphasis on foreign-policy decisions. We summarize some of the key debates and criticisms of the various approaches. Various models and theories are considered: rational choice theory, bounded rationality/cybernetic, organizational process model, bureaucratic politics model, prospect theory, and poliheuristic theory. Several biases are discussed: personality and beliefs, groupthink, polythink, and summary approaches. We conclude with a detailed discussion of the rational–cognitive debate as well as some thoughts for future progress in decision-making analysis.

Keywords: rational choice model, bounded rationality, cybernetic, organizational process model, bureaucratic politics model, prospect theory, poliheuristic theory, polithink, biases

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