Strategy and Choice
- Richard Zeckhauser() (Harvard University)
From the coalition's desert showdown with Saddam Hussein to the dieter's duel with himself in the midnight kitchen, strategic choices determine destinies. These essays by wellknown scholars - economists, psychologists, philosophers, and political scientists, inspired by master strategist Thomas Schelling - present the most significant recent advances in strategic choice theory. In activities ranging from gift giving to political wheeling and dealing, men and women strive ingeniously - though sometimes counterproductively - to secure desired outcomes. But as this book makes clear' the fundamental questions for strategy continually reappear: What factors motivate individuals' values and actions? What principles guide effective bargaining? How can incentives and decision processes be structured to yield desirable collective outcomes? In three parts, the book addresses many-player, fewplayer, and one-player situations. The first takes up questions such as: What outcomes result when an individual's welfare depends on comparisons with the situation of others? Under what circumstances do we expect many-player outcomes to at least resemble participants' desired outcomes? The second asks how we can build trust, distinguish between gifts and bribes, make commitments credible, or employ third parties to improve our bargaining position. The final part of the book focuses on the struggle of the individual decision maker. How does the recollected past influence one's evaluation of the present? How can we cope with errors in decision making? When should we rely on rules and principles, as opposed to the careful weighing of alternatives prescribed by the theory of rational choice? And - the most ethically challenging question - how shall we value human life?
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