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Frieden: Actors and preferences in international relations

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Frieden. 1999. Actors and preferences in international relations. In Strategic Choice, eds. Lake and Powell, pp. 39-76.

Preferences and strategies are different. Preferences are prior, based on the costs and benefits of achieving certain outcomes. Strategies are a reflection of how our preferences interact with structural constraints and others' preferences. We choose a strategy to achieve (what we think is) our best possible outcome.

Neither preferences nor strategies are directly observable. An actor's "revealed preference" for one outcome is a reflection of true preferences, strategy, and environmental constraints.

Confusion about preferences and strategies leads to three major "sins":

Three ways that IR scholars decide what preferences are:

Research on similar subjects


Frieden, Jeffry (author)International RelationsPreferencesStrategiesRealismLiberalism

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