Realism Vs Neorealism Essay

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There is an extensive literature on the problem of relative gains and the differences between neoliberal institutionalism and structural realist theory. The neoliberal theory assumes that states only care about their absolute payoff and disregards the gains of other. It stresses the prospects for cooperation and whether it results in a relative gain or loss is ignored as long as it brings an absolute gain. On the contrary, neorealist theory assumes that the states care about relative achievements and instead highlights the prospect for conflict (Powell, 1991). The rationale for the realist theory is that the states care about the relative payoffs when they are jointly produced, since an asymmetrically advantaging state can have implications in negotiation and bargaining power among states and lead to further asymmetries. Hence, the problem of relative gains imbalances in a cooperative outcome leads to the realist theory of cooperative failure (Grieco, 1988). The neorealists emphasise two impediments of cooperation, the relative gains and enforcement. However, the neoliberalists disregard the former, which is argued to have real consequences on the understanding of the problem of cooperation (Snidal, 1991). These two views have implications on the how the states preferences are modelled in terms of utility. If the states (or subjects) not only considers their own self-interest but…show more content…
The main difference is the belief about fair-minded people’s behaviour – do they respond to fair or unfair intentions or outcomes? Intention-based models capture reciprocity, which is argued to be a better description of human behaviour but at a cost in tractability
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