Full Text

Foreign Policy Decision Making

James M. Goldgeier

Subject International Studies » Foreign Policy Analysis

Key-Topics bureaucracy, decision making

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444336597.2010.x


Comment on this article   Macro-level approaches have long dominated the field of international relations, and for many scholars, opening up the “black box” of the state is merely an obstacle to creating parsimonious theories. Realists explain patterns of war by analyzing states as security or power maximizers; liberals recognize the prospects for cooperation by suggesting that states are wealth or utility maximizers. Constructivists see international actors as shaped by normative understandings. But as Hudson (2005) reminds us, it is the decision makers who act singly or in groups to shape the interactions among nations that are the theoretical “ground” of the discipline of international relations, and thus we need some understanding of how those decision makers are likely to behave. Although scholars have created elegant formal theories of decision making (e.g., Bueno de Mesquita 1988 ) to demonstrate the utility of rational choice approaches in the study of international relations, many academics have chosen to analyze the factors that so often produce suboptimal outcomes in interstate relations. We have come to understand over the decades that systematic biases in choice can result from cognitive limitations and/or emotions such as fear and anxiety, that organizations develop standard operating procedures that decrease their flexibility even if they increase their efficiency, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top