The Effect of Dynamic and Static Choice Sets on Political Decision Making: An Analysis Using the Decision Board Platform
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Previous studies of political decision making have used only "static" choice sets, where alternatives are "fixed" and are a priori known to the decision maker. We assess the effect of a dynamic choice set (new alternatives appear during the decision process) on strategy selection and choice in international politics. We suggest that decision makers use a mixture of decision strategies when making decisions in a two-stage process consisting of an initial screening of available alternatives, and a selection of the best one from the subset of remaining alternatives. To test the effects of dynamic and static choice sets on the decision process we introduce a computer-based "process tracer" in a study of top-ranking officers in the U.S. Air Force. The results show that (1) national security decision makers use a mixture of strategies in arriving at a decision, and (2) strategy selection and choice are significantly influenced by the structure of the choice set (static versus dynamic).
author list (cited authors)
Mintz, A., Geva, N., Redd, S. B., & Carnes, A.