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7 J. Conflict Resol. 1 (1963)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr7 and id is 1 raw text is: 








Some reflections on the design of game theoretic

models for the study of negotiation and threats




MARTIN   SHUBIK
International Business Machines Corporation, Thomas J. Watson Research Center,
Mathematical Sciences Department


Some  Problems   in Modelling
  THE MEANING  OF MODELS  IN THE
  SOCIAL SCIENCES
  One  of the greatest sources of misunder-
standing in the social sciences is the inability
of many political scientists, sociologists, gen-
eralists, and a great many economists and
psychologists, to understand what is meant
by a formal model, and to comprehend what
constitutes a legitimate or an unsound use of
that model.   On  certain occasions, more
mathematically inclined social scientists may
use simple examples  to illustrate method-
ology. Unfortunately, these examples  can
easily be misconstrued  and given  signifi-
cance and  content matter far beyond  the
initial intent of the expositor. Thus, in the
past few  years, there has been a rash of
writing using two by two game  matrices as
a basis for discussions of threat and deter-
rence policies. It is unlikely that any inter-
national power situation can be adequately
modelled for any  purpose other than very
simplified teaching by a two by two matrix.

  THE ACCEPTANCE   OF AXIOMS AND THE
  INTUITION OF THE SOCIAL SCIENTIST
  Very often controversies arise and achieve
mammoth   proportions in journals and de-
bates where  the  individuals involved are
arguing from a different set of axioms which


neither is able to recognize. The less one
understands the  concept of a  model, the
more likely it is that futile arguments based
on different sets of axioms will take place.
In the past fifteen years, this has been ade-
quately exemplified by the criticisms of and
comments  on the theory of games. The type
of mathematical thinking exemplified by the
work in the theory of games provides a use-
ful methodology   for the construction of
models  of  many  person  decision-making
processes. (However,  this is by no means
the only methodology.)

  THE DEVELOPMENT   OF SELF-POLICING
  SYSTEMS
  Essentially, the type of game  or social
model  needed  for a study of threats and
deterrence is that of a self-policing system.
An enforcement mechanism  must be present
within the structure. A fundamental exam-
ple of failure to have this is provided in the
economic  theory of welfare where the dis-
cussion of one  aspect  of economics  has
almost completely ruled out an  important
parallel problem. Many  economic theorists
have written on  welfare economics which
deals with the desirability, consistency, and
technological feasibility of economic states
of society. Less  attention, however, has
been paid to illfare economics or the eco-
nomic  problems of enforcing any  redistri-

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