The use of experiments to study and influence politics is widespread and growing, partly because they can identify cause and effect not possible with surveys or other data. No longer confined to the lab, political scientists and campaign operatives use new technology to conduct experiments on thousands of voters in real elections. Massive political experiments have been conducted on Facebook, by mail and telephone, but is it ethical to influence politics in pursuit of new knowledge? What have experiments taught us about voting, race, and representation in America? This class will cover these and other aspects of using experiments to study politics.
Open to any major; ideal for social science concentrators interested in using experimental methods for their independent research. Substantive material and class examples will be drawn from research on U.S. politics, with a focus on voter turnout in elections, race and identity, and representation. Taught in 2016, 2017 and twice in 2018 (spring and fall).