Framing effects in international relations

Synthese 135 (2):193 - 213 (2003)
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Framing is the least well-developed central concept of prospect theory. Framing is both fundamental to prospect theory and remarkably underdeveloped in the prospect theory literature. This paper focuses on the many subtypes and variations of framing: thematic vs. evaluative; successful vs. failed; productive vs. counterproductive; purposeful, structural and interactive framing; counterframing; loss frames vs. gain frames; revolving framing vs. sequential framing; framing by a third party; and framing vs. priming. The bulk of the paper provides an analysis of framing and framing effects in foreign policy settings with an emphasis on U.S. foreign policy. We highlight framing effects during the Cold War, the Persian Gulf War, the current ``war on terrorism'', and other IR/foreign policy settings. Our examination highlights the extent to which presidents and other significant world leaders use framing to shape policy debates and national security choices.



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