Thinking Fast and Slow in Alliance Politics
Lee, Yoon Jin
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CitationLee, Yoon Jin. 2020. Thinking Fast and Slow in Alliance Politics. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractIn this dissertation, I develop a general level sociological theory of choice, which subsumes the classical expected utility theory of choice. I explain when the logic of habit (absence of utility) and when the various forms of instrumental, normative, and motivated rationality (presence of utility) would operate, and why. The key explanatory variable is the degree of contestation in the relevant action knowledge, held jointly at the individual and institutional levels. I offer various measurement standards with which one can systematically and rigorously measure the different logics of action.
To demonstrate the explanatory value of the sociological theory of choice, I derive contextualized propositions. The concrete context concerns an instance of alliance bargaining over the foreign policy stance toward a third-party. As conventional wisdom is that national leaders are playing the ‘two-level game,’ I argue that this particular context consists a hard test for my mid-level theoretical argument. Specifically, I address the following question: What explains the US allies’ joining behaviors in US-led military operations, especially when there is a lack of international institutional authorization to use armed force? I specify that the relative strengths of pre-existing ideas on the effectiveness of bilateralism, multilateralism, and the use of force in achieving national security objectives, held jointly at the individual and institutional levels, explain the US allies’ joining behaviors.
I test my argument against existing alternatives. I address the serious problem of equifinality by leveraging the differentially expected logics of action, and set up two rounds of critical tests. I employ a cross-national multi-methods research design. I focus on two US allies—the United Kingdom and the Republic of Korea—as they almost always receive US requests to join the operations of interest but remain vastly different from one another. I examine additional decision-making cases of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. The findings of the two rounds of critical tests across three stages of the cross-national multi-methods research design overwhelmingly support my two-level ideational argument of US allies’ joining behaviors, specified from the sociological theory of choice.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37366012
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