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 International Conference on Complex Systems (ICCS2007)

Informed Decisions and War: How the Institutional Structure of Governments Shapes Their Behavior Regarding Threats and War

Wayne Thornton
Harvard University

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     Last modified: July 11, 2007

This paper models governments as systems and offers a new perspective on governmental decision-making. I treat all types of governments as an institutionalized decision-making process and model institutional actors as nodes in a network. The model characterizes each actor (node) by the degree to which it is informed and the degree to which it informs the decision process. The model combines these measures using Boolean algebra, resulting in a highly non-linearity statistical model that generates a composite measure of the propensity to make informed decisions. I apply the model to analyze empirical data and show how the structure of governments shapes states’ behavior regarding threats and war.

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