Academic year 2014-2015
Experimental Designs in political and social sciences
The course aims to provide graduate students with a basic introduction to the use of experimental methods in political and social sciences. The course will deal with methodological, theoretical and practical aspects of experimentation. It will assume no prior knowledge of experimental methods. The course is divided in two parts: (1) Experimental economics vs. political science (2) Cognitive economics and political science.
The participants will develop an understanding of the main foundations and assumptions of experimental methods in political and social sciences. They will also gain insight into the empirical literature of experiments from political science, economics and neuroscience. Finally, they will be able to critically read experimental designs and conclusions. Students will also be given the opportunity to act as subjects in a laboratory experiment, which will be performed at the start of the course and discussed during the course.
Reference to very elementary concepts of Game Theory is made during the course.
The following readings provide students with a very basic introductory review of research in Experimental Political Science:
*Druckman J.N., D.P. Green, J.H. Kuklinski and A. Lupia (2006) “The growth and development of experimental research in political sciences”, American Political Science Review, 100, 627-635.
*Morton R.B. and K.C. Williams (2010) Experimental Political Science and the Study of Causality. From Nature to the Lab, Cambridge University Press, New York, Chapter 1.
The following book deals with methodological and theoretical aspects of the application of experimental methods in social sciences:
*Friedman, D. and S. Sunder (1994) Experimental methods. A primer for economists, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, chapt. 1-2-3.
*Camerer, C. F., G. Loewenstein, and D. Prelec (2005) “Neuroeconomics: How Neuroscience Can Inform Economics”, Journal of Economic Literature, XLIII, 9-64.
*Davis, D.D. and C.A. Holt (1993) Experimental Economics, Princeton University Press, Princeton
*Friedman, D. and S. Sunder (1994) Experimental methods. A primer for economists, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
*Friedman, D and A. Cassar (2004) Economics Lab. An intensive course in experimental economics, Routledge, London and New York
*Innocenti, A., A. Rufa and J. Semmoloni (2010) "Overconfident behavior in informational cascades: An eye-tracking study", Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 3, 74-82.
*Kahneman, D. (2011) Thinking, Fast and Slow, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
*Morton R.B and K.C. Williams (2010) Experimental Political Science and the Study of Causality. From Nature to the Lab, Cambridge University Press, New York.
*Thaler, R. H. and C. R. Sunstein, Nudge. Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, Yale University Press 2008.