Political Economists Can Gain A Useful Insight Into The Utility Of Economic Sanctions

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This paper will explore whether political economists can gain a useful insight into the utility of economic sanctions if they utilise game theoretical modelling. It will explore the various strengths and weaknesses of using such models, and whether there are any ways to rectify these weaknesses. My hypothesis is that game theory is a highly useful model for understanding sanctions, however the framework by which one analyses can vary and alter the games. Realists frameworks can allow us to gain a little insight, but game theory seems to yield more impressive insights when used within an institutionalist framework. The next step for the leading game theorist scholars in international affairs, is to improve on existing models by…show more content…
Shubik provides us with a useful set of features by which we can analyse whether game theory can be considered relevant when thinking about state actors (Shubik 1964: 27): 1. Do countries commit to particular actions before entering the “game”? 2. Are there only two major alternative actions, which a country can take? 3. Do values such as the pay-offs, costs and benefits, stay fixed over the period of negotiations? 4. Does timing affect negotiations? 5. Do individuals think in terms of strategies? Can they be taught to think in terms of strategies? Should they think in terms of strategies? 6. Surely negotiations between two countries are part of a larger on-going process and cannot be studied in isolation but must be investigated in a complete dynamic context? Although these are early concerns, they are still relevant concerns of the theoretical model. Game theory has matured with the development of computers, which might allow for some of these weaknesses to have been accounted for, as the models can become more sophisticated, however, there are some questions that seem to attack the foundations of the model. For instance, if we answer “no” to the questions posed in point 5, game theory would appear to be invalidated as an approach. The complexity of economic sanctions The literature on economic sanctions is dominated by the empirical research of

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