The Future of Field Experiments in International Relations


Susan D. Hyde

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Hyde, Susan, D. (2010), The Future of Field Experiments in International Relations, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 628(1): 72-84. doi: 10.1177/0002716209351513
Can international relations (IR) be studied productively with field experimental methods? The two most common existing empirical approaches in IR rely on cross-national data, detailed case studies, or a combination of the two. One as yet uncommon approach is the use of randomized field experiments to evaluate causal hypotheses. Applying such methods within IR complements other theoretical, case study, and observational research, and permits a productive research agenda to be built by testing the micro-foundations of theories within IR. This argument is illustrated by exploring how field experimental methods could be applied to two existing areas: how international institutions facilitate cooperation, and whether international actors can promote democracy in sovereign states.
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