Game Theory, Political Psychology, and the Process of Democratization

By Calvin Mouw.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Using a game theoretical perspective, Adam Przeworski has stated that “democracies last when they evoke spontaneous compliance from all the major political forces.” The two main sets of players, the public and their agents (political elites, political entrepreneurs, and elected officials), are assumed to be conscious that their actions affect each other and that equilibrium is reached based on the appropriate anticipation of the other players’ actions. Political psychology tells us that in the real world, information is imperfect and incomplete, and conscious activity is limited. Using what we know about the structure of affect, I view public actions as a product of endogenous beliefs and the emotional reaction to exogenous forces. Beliefs entail long-term sentiments about liberalization, capitalism, global or regional governance, and development in general. Exogenous reactions largely reflect short-term evaluations of economic and political performance. An interactive composite offers a more accurate view of public action and reaction. This empirical work will focus on Central and Eastern Europe. The key question is whether the study of affect can contribute to game theoretic analyses of politics.

Keywords: Game Theory, Democratic Equilibrium, Political Psychology

Global Studies Journal, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp.7-18. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 250.073KB).

Calvin Mouw

Professor, Political Science, University of Illinois, Springfield, IL, USA

Calvin Mouw is a professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Springfield in the USA. His scholarly interest and work has been in the economic and political development of Central and Eastern Europe. More specifically, he has studied the effects of economic reforms and performance on the development of public opinion and democratic commitment. Theoretically, he is interested in the interaction of game theory and affect-based models of political behavior.


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