Exploring the Promise of Experimentation in Political Science: Micro-Foundational Insights and Policy Relevance

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Abstract

In the face of scepticism experimenters are looking to move out of niche areas to offer their methods to mainstream political science. But even if the strength of experimental logic in demonstrating causal claims is accepted by political science colleagues there are doubts about the practicality and ethics of experimental work. Experimenters need to address these issues head on by showing how the research practice of experimenting is developing and proving to be viable. The particular claims of experimental work to offer insights into the micro-foundations of political behaviour will have to be advanced. Applications of experimental work could produce a political science of relevance to policy makers and citizens. In order to make advances experimenters will need their strategies to deal with the demands of a complex policy world.

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