Two-level game theory

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Two-level game theory is a political model of international conflict resolution between states derived from game theory and originally introduced in 1988 by Robert Putnam.[1]

Putnam had been involved in research around the G7 summits between 1976 and 1979. However at the fourth summit, held in Bonn in 1978, he observed a qualitative shift in how the negotiations worked.

The model views international negotiations between states as consisting of simultaneous negotiations at both the intranational level (i.e. domestic) and the international level (i.e. between governments).[2] Over domestic negotiations, the chief negotiator absorbs the concern of societal actors and builds coalitions with them; at the international level, the chief negotiator seeks an agreement that is amongst the possible "wins" in his state's "win-set". Win-sets are the possible outcomes that are likely to be accepted by the domestic interest groups who either must ratify the agreement or provide some other form of government backing.[citation needed] International agreements occur when there is an overlap between the win-sets of the states involved in the international negotiations.[3]



  • Méndez, Álvaro (2017). Colombian Agency and the Making of US Foreign Policy: Intervention by Invitation. Abingdon, England: Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-21573-8.
  • Putnam, Robert D. (1988). "Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games". International Organization. 42 (3): 427–460. doi:10.1017/S0020818300027697. ISSN 1531-5088. JSTOR 2706785.
  • Williams, Matthew A.; Covarrubias, Jack (2009). "Rebalancing America's War on Terror: President Obama". In Lansford, Tom; Watson, Robert P.; Covarrubias, Jack (eds.). America's War on Terror (2nd ed.). Farnham, England: Ashgate. pp. 261–282. ISBN 978-0-7546-7787-1.

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