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Analysis of negotiations is descriptive and may draw insights from normative (or abstract) studies. Analysis for negotiations has a different flavor.
It is designed to help disputants and interveners (facilitators, mediators, or arbitrators) to do their job better in specific real-world negotiating problems.
But there is another aspect of analysis for negotiations that is different from background modeling of the environment of a dispute. How can analysis be used to help a disputant or intervener choose a course of action before, during, and after a negotiation?
Here the paradigm is more decision analytical than game theoretical. For example: What are the alternatives? What are the uncertainties (about physical parameters as well as interests, values, and actions of other disputants)? What actions can be deferred until information is gathered along the way? What are the multiple conflicting objectives?
The analyst might wish to model the actions to be taken by others in order to assess probability distributions over these action alternatives.
In this regard, the sophisticated analyst should utilize the impressive body of growing literature on behavioral decision theory.
Formal models of international negotiations are either abstract mathematical theories, like Nash’s bargaining approach or Stahl and Rubinstein’s offer, which offer solutions to bargaining problems but do not really describe negotiation processes; rather, they give advice on how to agree immediately.
They may also be descriptive models of negotiations of the past or the present, which may be simplified guides to a social scientist or a historian to understanding the behavior of statesmen and diplomats.
Formal models in international negotiations are heuristic and dynamic by their very nature. They describe international negotiations with the help of external data showing the implications of contextual or structural elements of use in the negotiations, but they do not model the actual negotiations themselves, as in the first category.
They provide useful knowledge about possible mechanisms or situational consequences to inform negotiators about alternatives and outcomes and to spur creativity infinding solutions.
Formal models for international negotiations are used to combine the preferences of the parties into optimal outcomes; possible values and outcomes are prioritized and quantified and then analyzed—often with the use of computer programs—to find where joint best payoffs may lie.
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