Please note, due to essential maintenance online transactions will not be possible between 02:30 and 04:00 BST, on Tuesday 17th September 2019 (22:30-00:00 EDT, 17 Sep, 2019). We apologise for any inconvenience.
To send this article to your account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
As political science experiments have increasingly moved out of the traditional western university laboratory setting, researchers have had to confront many new issues that had previously received less attention from experimentalists. Much ink and effort has been expended on the methodological issues involved due to the loss of experimental control and the difficulty in implementing and maintaining true random assignment. Moreover, as experimentation has become increasingly popular and more attention has been paid to the way in which we collect and analyze data generally, many are concerned with disconnects between design proposals and actual implementations – especially with the possibility of burying null findings or reporting findings that just barely meet standardized levels of significance – and with the ability of researchers to replicate results. Furthermore, questions of harm to human subjects – and notions of informed consent – have had to be revisited in situations far from the conditions in which these concepts were originally developed.
Politicians' personal beliefs and backgrounds strongly influence politics and policy. But why do individuals with particular beliefs and backgrounds tend to run for office and become politicians? This paper argues that parties and interest groups strategically shape the candidate pool from which voters choose by mobilizing certain individuals to run for office, much like they strategically shape the electorate by mobilizing like-minded individuals to vote. Supporting this view, I first unearth decades of previously disparate evidence suggesting that candidate mobilization efforts are widespread. I then present results from an experiment embedded in an actual candidate mobilization effort that finds encouragement to run for office can meaningfully increase interest in candidacy. Implications and opportunities for further research are discussed.
Increasingly, experimental research is being conducted on the Internet in addition to the laboratory. Online experiments are more convenient for subjects and researchers, but we know little about how the choice of study location affects data quality. To investigate whether respondent behavior differs across study location, we randomly assign subjects to participate in a study in a laboratory or in an online setting. Contrary to our expectations, we find few differences between participants in terms of the level of attention and socially desirable responding. However, we find significant differences in two areas: the degree of self-reported distractions while completing the questionnaire and the tendency to consult outside sources for answers to political knowledge questions. We conclude that when the greater convenience (and higher response rates) of online experiments outweighs these disadvantages, Internet administration of randomized experiments represent an alternative to laboratory administration.
US House incumbents enjoy profound electoral advantages, yet existing research has not asked whether individual voters actually prefer incumbents over newcomers, other things being equal. Instead, existing research has focused on showing that other things are not equal by emphasizing the structural advantages that incumbents enjoy. Political scientists, economists, and pundits have frequently speculated that voters either reward or punish incumbency, even when structural advantages are ignored. A randomized survey experiment administered in two waves to 1,976 respondents suggests that voters respond only minimally—if at all—to incumbency status once the structural advantages are held constant. Voters do not exhibit a strong general preference either for or against incumbency.
How do citizens attribute blame in the wake of government failure? Does partisanship bias these attributions? While partisan cues may serve as useful guides when citizens are evaluating public policies, those cues are likely to be less informative and more distortionary when evaluating government performance regarding a crisis. We address these questions by examining blame attributions to government appointees for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. We implement an experimental design in a nationally representative survey that builds on previous work in two ways: (1) we manipulate party labels for the same officials in a real-world setting by considering appointees who were nominated at different times by presidents of different parties; and (2) we examine how domain relevance moderates partisan bias. We find that partisan bias in attributions is strongest when officials are domain relevant, a finding that has troubling implications for representative democracy.
A field experiment carried out by Butler and Nickerson (Butler, D. M., and Nickerson, D. W. (2011). Can learning constituency opinion affect how legislators vote? Results from a field experiment. Quarterly Journal of Political Science 6, 55–83) shows that New Mexico legislators changed their voting decisions upon receiving reports of their constituents’ preferences. The analysis of the experiment did not account for the possibility that legislators may share information, potentially resulting in spillover effects. Working within the analytic framework proposed by Bowers et al. (2013), I find evidence of spillovers, and present estimates of direct and indirect treatment effects. The total causal effect of the experimental intervention appears to be twice as large as reported originally.
An enduring question for the social sciences is whether increasing contact and exposure between in-groups and out-groups enhances prospects for social tolerance and cooperation. Using dictator experiments with ethnic Serbs in post-war Kosovo, our research explores how norms of altruism are impacted by proximity to former rivals. In the aftermath of violence, proximity appears to amplify solidarity with the in-group but also increases empathy toward former adversaries. Based on a March 2011 study of 158 ethnic Serbs from regions across Kosovo with varying degrees of contact and separation from ethnic Albanians, we find that both out-group bridging and in-group bonding norms increase with exposure to the out-group. The inclusion of extended controls and matching for displacement by violence and other forms of victimization helps alleviate concerns about sorting and selection driving our results.
I investigate the extent to which reputational incentives affect policy choices in the context of a controlled laboratory experiment. In theory, asymmetric information and outcome unobservability undermine electoral delegation by creating incentives for politicians to pander. Under the right conditions, it may be preferable to remove such incentives by removing accountability altogether. The data suggest that subjects playing the role of politicians fail to take advantage of voters even though voters indeed create the predicted electoral incentives, albeit in a weaker form than predicted by the theory. When given the choice of institutions via a novel elicitation method, subjects prefer to retain electoral accountability or to make decisions themselves through direct democracy, even though both institutions yield lower expected payoffs than delegation to unaccountable agents.