Bryan D. Jones, Politics and the Architecture of Choice: Bounded rationality and governance (2001), Chapters 1-6.

Summary: makes the following arguments: (1) Human behaviour is mostly adaptive and goal oriented. (2) Because of biological limits on cognitive capacities, however, humans are disproportionate information processors. They tend to react to new information by neglect or overestimation. (3) The formal organizations created by humans aid in adaption by overcoming inherited limitations in adaptive abilities. (4) Nevertheless, some of our limitations in adaptability will show through in even the most rational of institutions. (5) As a consequence these institutions will not react proportionately to incoming information, and outputs from the most rational of institutions will be disjointed and episodic. (23)

  • systems of multiple decision makers help to deal with certain errors in rationality, largely through adaption, and despite individual irrationality, legislatures, committees, and other institutions appear to work reasonably well – as such, the nature of the environment must matter in the conduct of decision making.
    • They do have a few adaptive inefficiencies, however: (52)
      • lags in matching: adaptation cannot be instantaneous, and it is difficult to know whether an observed environment-decision match is ‘b/w equilibria’ or whether the match has reached equilibrium and is hence optimal.
      • multiple equilibria: there may be a number of local equilibria – choices that are not perfect, but are better than any other ‘nearby’ choice – and hence the decision making process may not reach global adaptation.
      • path dependency: adaptation may have occurred relative to past environments, which preclude certain present choices.
      • networks of diffusion: information is contingent on ‘who talks to whom.’ This means that certain decisions within a network may be suboptimal at the same time that others are optimal.
      • mutual adaptation and coevolution: decision makers mould their environments, and hence affect the cues that they receive.