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

By Fritz W. Scharpf | Go to book overview

NOTES
1.
This form of coordination was identified by Philipp Genschel ( 1993) in an empirical study of coordination within and among specialized standard-setting committees in international telecommunications. Even though there is a high degree of overlap between the jurisdictional domains of these committees, and even though their membership is also overlapping (so that all actors are fully aware of the interdependence among separate standardization processes), there is no attempt to achieve overall coordination either through merging adjacent committees or through establishing liaison committees that would work out common solutions. Instead, whichever committee is further advanced in its own work will define its own standard, while the other committees will take that standard into account in their own subsequent work. As a result, the overall patchwork of standards tends to be highly coordinated and, in that sense, efficient.
2.
That is only true if changes must be brought about by new decision initiatives. If the status quo should deteriorate as a consequence of external changes, a pure system of Negative Coordination would prevent the adjustment of standing decisions as long as there are still parties who are better off without the adjustment.
3.
With two actors, orthogonal preference vectors, and policy options randomly distributed in Euclidean space, the probability that a proposal that is attractive to one side will be rejected by the other side is p = ½.
4.
We do not discuss here the theoretically less interesting mixed form of "calculated adaptive adjustment."
5.
In addition, the rubric of manipulated adjustment is to include "authoritarian prescription and "unconditional manipulation" (i.e., direct and indirect forms of hierarchical control), as well as "prior decision" (i.e., exploiting the advantage of the first move in a sequential, noncooperative game) and "indirect manipulation" (i.e., prevailing on a third party to use its influence on the target actors). Analytically, this is an extremely heterogeneous list whose diverse welfare implications cannot be fully explored here. If Lindblom had thought that hierarchical control were generally efficient, he would have written a different book ( Miller 1992). "Prior decision" seems to be a less myopic variant of parametric adjustment, discussed earlier. Its implications are highly contingent on the nature of the game, however. Having the first move in a sequential game is an advantage if the game has multiple Nash equilibria; it is irrelevant if the game has precisely one Nash equilibrium in pure strategies; and it is a disadvantage in mixed-motive games without a Nash equilibrium or in zero-sum games without a saddle point. "Indirect manipulation," finally, does not seem to have any specific consequences of welfare-theoretic interest.
6.
In the absence of transaction costs, for instance, there would be no reason to consider external effects as a problem, since all parties affected could participate in negotiations leading to an agreed decision. By contrast, if transaction costs matter, the inevitable nonidentity between those who are able to participate in a decision and those who are affected by it must become the core problem of normative political theory. By the same token, the problems associated with the "logic of collective action" ( Olson 1965) and empirical differences in the capacity of interests to achieve collective organization derive their political salience entirely from the real-world importance of transaction costs.
7.
There is of course no suggestion here that negotiations should be the only means available for achieving coordination in the face of distribution and value-creation prob-

-273-

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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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