Games Real Actors Play: Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research

By Fritz W. Scharpf | Go to book overview

9

Varieties of the Negotiating State

LOOKING BACK

It may be useful to begin this concluding chapter with a look back over the ground that we have covered. Substantive policy analysis, so I said at the beginning, is concerned with the relationship between conditions considered problematic by the individuals or groups affected and the means available for the collective resolution of such problems in ways that are thought to be superior in terms of the public interest. Interaction-oriented political science research, by contrast, would focus on the institutions and actors through which problems are converted into policy outputs and outcomes that -- in the light of substantive policy analysis -- may be considered more or less effective solutions. This book was to be about a set of conceptual tools that could facilitate the theoretically disciplined study of policy interactions.

Such tools, I suggested, could be located within the unifying framework of actor-centered institutionalism, which treats policy as the outcome of the interactions of resourceful and boundedly rational actors whose capabilities, preferences, and perceptions are largely, but not completely, shaped by the institutionalized norms within which they interact. I then discussed the reasons for using composite-actor concepts and for distinguishing among aggregate, collective, and corporate actors, and I suggested useful distinctions regarding the capabilities, perceptions, and preferences of composite and individual actors. Next I elaborated the potential of game-theoretic interpretations of constellations among policy actors, their relationship to the underlying substantive policy problems, and the welfare-theoretic and justice-oriented criteria by which solutions could be evaluated. In Chapters 5 through 8 I then presented in greater detail the four basic modes of strategic interaction -- unilateral action, negotiations, voting, and hierarchy -- and I discussed the conditions under which each of these is capable of generating policy outcomes that are likely to be welfare efficient and responsive to criteria of distributive justice.

-195-

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Games Real Actors Play: Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Tables and Figures xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 18
  • 1 - Policy Research in the Face of Complexity 19
  • Notes 34
  • 2 - Actor-Centered Institutionalism 36
  • Notes 49
  • 3 - Actors 51
  • Notes 67
  • 4 - Actor Constellations 69
  • Notes 93
  • 5 - Unilateral Action in Anarchic Fields and Minimal Institutions 97
  • Notes 114
  • 6 - Negotiated Agreements 116
  • Notes 147
  • 7 - Decisions by Majority Vote 151
  • Notes 168
  • 8 - Hierarchical Direction 171
  • Notes 193
  • 9 - Varieties of the Negotiating State 195
  • Notes 214
  • Appendix 1 - A Game-Theoretical Interpretation of Inflation and Unemployment in Western Europe 217
  • Notes 237
  • References 240
  • Appendix 2 - Efficient Self-Coordination in Policy Networks -- a Simulation Study 245
  • Notes 273
  • References 276
  • References 281
  • About the Book and Author 303
  • Index 305
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