Using field experiments to study political institutions

Authored by: Guy Grossman , Laura Paler

Routledge Handbook of Comparative Political Institutions

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415630887
eBook ISBN: 9781315731377
Adobe ISBN: 9781317551799


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Political scientists are increasingly using experiments to study the relationship between institutions and political and economic outcomes. Institutions are the “rules and procedures that structure social interaction by constraining and enabling actors’ behavior” (Helmke and Levitsky 2006: 5). During more than two decades of renewed interest in institutions in political science, researchers have sought answers to broad questions, like: How do institutions affect outcomes such as growth and development, participation, accountability, and policy selection? Which institutions, and what elements of institutional design, matter for these outcomes? How do formal institutions interact with informal institutions? How can weak political institutions be strengthened? And what are the causes of institutional change?

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