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PROBLEMS IN MODELING COMPLEX DYNAMIC INTERACTIONS: THE POLITICAL REALIGNMENT OF THE 1850s

By Robert William Fogel

Abstract

This paper argues that a model of sequential choice is superior to the standard rational choice model in explaining a process as complex and dynamic as the political realignment of the 1850s. Part 1 sketches the facts and processes that need to be encompassed by a model and identifies key branching points. Part 2 describes an appropriate model of sequential choice and discusses procedures for estimating transition probabilities and the impact of key variables on these transition probabilities. Part 3 identifies implicit assumptions of rational choice theory that limit its usefulness. Copyright 1992 Blackwell Publishers Ltd..

DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1468-0343.1992.tb00086.x
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