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

By Fritz W. Scharpf | Go to book overview

Appendix 1
A Game-Theoretical Interpretation of Inflation and Unemployment in Western Europe

INTRODUCTION

Political scientists and economists with a comparative bent have for some time been fascinated by the opportunities for theory testing and theory building provided by the largescale "natural experiment" of the worldwide economic crisis that began in the early 1970s. Compared to the preceding decade, the middle and late 1970s and the early 1980s were indeed a difficult period for all industrialized Western (OECD) countries. Economic growth and employment growth were reduced by half, while rates of unemployment and inflation levels were on the average twice as high. 1

But even as the average economic and employment performance of OECD countries declined after 1973, the relative distance between more and less successful countries increased considerably for most indicators of economic performance. Equally interesting is the fact that cross-national differences do not seem to correspond to conventional economic hypotheses ( Therborn 1986). Even the almost tautological link between economic growth and employment is weak (r2 = .32); there is no statistical association between employment growth and levels of unemployment (which are affected not only by the course of the economy but also by changes of the supply of labor); and the relationships between economic and employment growth on the one hand and inflation on the other hand are also extremely weak.

Similarly, a glance at a scatterplot of the two indicators with the greatest political salience, inflation and unemployment, does not confirm expectations (associated with the once-popular Phillips curve) of a strongly negative correlation. The correlation is weakly positive, instead, and there have been countries with low and others with high rates of inflation at every level of unemployment (Figure A1.1). Confronted with the worldwide crisis, OECD countries apparently have achieved widely differing profiles of economic performance -- some reaching a compromise among several goals, some doing poorly in most respects, and some doing well in one dimension and poorly in another.

Political scientists have been attracted by this body of economically unexplained variance. Cross-national quantitative studies, focusing on the party-political orientation of

First published in Journal of Public Policy 7 ( 1987):227-257.

-217-

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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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