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Are Risk Assessments Important at Political Leaders´ Foreign Policy Decisions?: Prospect Theory´s Applicability Tested on Prime Minister Göran Persson´s and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt´s Foreign Policy Decisions on the Peace-Generating Operations in Afghanistan and Libya
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to try to explain if risk assessments are important at political leaders´ foreign policy decisions. Different qualitative methods are used, and texts and documents are analysed. Prospect theory focuses on decision making under uncertainty, and its applicability is tested on Prime Ministers Göran Persson´s and Fredrik Reinfeldt´s foreign policy decisions on the peace-generating operations in Afghanistan and Libya.

Judging from the empirical material risk assessments were important during all phases of Persson´s foreign policy decisions, but only during some phases of Reinfeldt´s foreign policy decisions. A plausible explanation of this difference is the Prime Ministers´ different assessments of political gains and losses. Persson assessed that he could achieve political gains in the international arena by his foreign policy decisions, while Reinfeldt assessed that he could incur political losses in the national arena by his foreign policy decisions. Being in the gains domain Persson´s risk assessments were important during the whole decision process, being in the losses domain Reinfeldt´s risk assessments were only important during some phases of the decision process. The findings of this thesis indicate that the importance of risk assessments at political leaders´ foreign policy decisions depends on their assessments of political gains and losses. The findings also indicate that prospect theory´s applicability can be successfully tested on small states not directly affected by a conflict.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 70 p.
Keyword [en]
Afghanistan, foreign policy decisions, Fredrik Reinfeldt, Göran Persson, Libya, Muammar Ghadhafi, peace-generating operations, prospect theory, risk assessments
National Category
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-28266OAI: diva2:854149
Subject / course
Political Science
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2015-09-16 Created: 2015-09-16 Last updated: 2015-09-16Bibliographically approved

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