Analyzing the rational actor model of decision

The initial chapter of this book deals with how analysts use models to predict behavior within government. Using model 1, or the rational actor model, analysts can predict the future actions an agent will take based on the assumption that the agent will choose alternatives that have the greatest utility.The agents goals or objectives, alternatives, consequences, and choice, are the four concepts analysts use in determining actions agents will take.
There are four states of being in which analysts place agents and two types of rationality the agent may use within these states to make decisions. During thefirst state the agent is armed with the least amount of information and thinks in a notional (limited context) state. As the agent receives more information their state of being "thickens" and the agent moves from the notional into the generic, then identified, and finally the personified state of being. As the agent moves through these states, their rationality also changes. During the initial states the agent can act in a bounded rationale where he has limited resources or information on hand. As the agent again ascends it begin to use a more comprehensive rationale where all alternatives are ranked and the agent chooses the action with the greatest utility regardless of consequence.
The RAM is a great tool for analysts to use in helping predict possible outcomes. However, as more complex concepts such as institutionalism and strategy come into play and decision makers must look for alternatives that not only maximize utility, but also not seem threatening.

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