Hyde on Experimenting in Democracy Promotion (PoP)

Abstract: Randomized field experiments have gained attention within the social sciences and the field of democracy promotion as an influential tool for causal inference and a potentially powerful method of impact evaluation.With an eye toward facilitating field experimentation in democracy promotion, I present the first field-experimental study of international election monitoring, which should be of interest to both practitioners and academics. I discuss field experiments as a promising method for evaluating the effects of democracy assistance programs. Applied to the 2004 presidential elections in Indonesia, the random assignment of international election observers reveals that even though the election was widely regarded as democratic, the presence of observers had a measurable effect on votes cast for the incumbent candidate, indicating that such democracy assistance can influence election quality even in the absence of blatant election-day fraud.