Help me help you: Conducting field experiments with political elites

Peter John Loewen, Daniel Rubenson, Leonard Wantchekon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Field experiments can teach important facts about the political world to both political scientists and political elites, whose shared interest in how that world actually works should encourage greater collaboration between the two. Nonetheless, for political scientists, conducting field experiments with elites can seem prohibitively challenging. Drawing on four field experiments with political elites, two in Benin and two in Canada, we outline key lessons on negotiating and conducting field experiments with political elites. Specifically, we outline how ethical concerns can be addressed and overcome. We discuss how the expectations and timelines of campaigns and elites can be managed, particularly when they (appear to conflict) with academic timing and process. Finally, we outline several general concerns about implementation of field experiments and provide some unique solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Volume628
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences

Keywords

  • Clientelism
  • Direct mail
  • Field experiments
  • Information
  • Political campaigns
  • Political elites

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