On Field Experiments in Political Science (National Public Radio)

A report by Alix Spiegel on National Public Radio on July 16, “Can Science Plant Brain Seeds That Make You Vote?,” discusses the increased use of randomized controlled trials in the study of political science, with particular emphasis on what makes people vote. Listen to the report here . From the report: “Back in 1998, during midterm elections, two political scientists, Donald Green and Alan Gerber, decided to do a series of randomized experiments in Connecticut. (At the time, both were at Yale. Green now works at Columbia University.) Their idea was simple: They wanted to understand what works. Which campaign tactics actually changed minds? Was it better to use direct mail? Phone banks? Canvass door to door? Are there particular ways to talk to voters that make them more likely to vote? What they discovered was that much of the conventional wisdom about what got voters to vote was simply wrong.”

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