Cover image for Predicting politics
Predicting politics
Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce, 1946-
Publication Information:
Columbus : Ohio State University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
viii, 170 pages ; 23 cm
Predicting politics -- Path interdependence : an illustration -- Tools for predicting politics -- The end of the Cold War : predicting an emergent property -- Global democratization -- Democratization and domestic pressures -- War in the future.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JZ1234 .B84 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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To predict likely policy developments around the world over the next thirty years, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita uses game theoretic models as described in Predicting Politics. The tools used in this book have found wide application in business and in the development of significant American foreign policy initiatives over the years. The author uses data from 1948 to show the ability of models to predict the end of the Cold War. He then turns to data from 1980 for about one hundred countries and simulates future states of the world, especially with regard to further democratization. In the process he shows strong evidence that the burst of democratization that occurred at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s was predictable based on replicable data known in 1980. While delving into rather gloomy predictions about likely developments in Russia and China's domestic affairs, he offers a novel explanation for the failure of Russia to attract more investment and to achieve the higher growth rates commonly associated with democratic government. Although Russia is certainly more democratic in an absolute sense today than it was in 1980, it has fallen farther behind the rest of the world in terms of democratization and so lacks the comparative advantages of property rights, rule of law, and transparent governance that are essential for attracting investment. Bueno de Mesquita shows how policy situations and game theoretical analyses can explain the past, illuminate the present, and forecast future events. At the same time he provides the tools necessary for others to create their own rigorous estimates of future foreign policies.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Bueno de Mesquita (New York University) presents a rigorous and compelling analysis of expected utility forecasting. He applies an expected utility model derived from game theory and social choice theory to a variety of political events. His applications include the end of the Cold War and the prospects for domestic political reform in China. As the title implies, he is not merely interested in assessing past events. Rather, he demonstrates the utility of his rational choice model to anticipate future outcomes based on existing data about actors' preferences. The model central to his analysis has been used by the US Central Intelligence Agency and several private consulting firms. Some readers may question his operationalization, while others will quibble with his counterfactuals. For anyone interested in forecasting, however, this book is important for its rigor and for linking political science to policy making. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. J. R. Strand University of Nevada, Las Vegas