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date: 07 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

In an effort to overcome the limitations of survey research and lab experimentation, researchers studying the effects of communication have increasingly turned to field experimentation, or randomized trials conducted in real-world settings. This essay describes the research designs and findings from illustrative field experiments in three substantive domains. First, the authors consider public information campaigns designed to encourage voters to hold public officials accountable for performance in office. Second, they discuss individually targeted information designed to encourage voters and taxpayers to comply with social norms. Finally, they review recent attempts to study the electoral effects of television and radio advertisements. This array of studies illustrates how field experiments may contribute to a broad range of important theoretical and policy debates.

Keywords: Experimental design, field experiments, representation, voter turnout, political advertising

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