Field Experiments and Their Critics: Essays on the Uses and Abuses of Experimentation in the Social Sciences

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Dawn Langan Teele
Yale University Press, Jan 7, 2014 - Social Science - 270 pages
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In recent years, social scientists have engaged in a deep debate over the methods appropriate to their research. Their long reliance on passive observational collection of information has been challenged by proponents of experimental methods designed to precisely infer causal effects through active intervention in the social world. Some scholars claim that field experiments represent a new gold standard and the best way forward, while others insist that these methods carry inherent inconsistencies, limitations, or ethical dilemmas that observational approaches do not. This unique collection of essays by the most influential figures on every side of this debate reveals its most important stakes and will provide useful guidance to students and scholars in many disciplines.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Illusion of Learning from Observational Research
9
2 A Defense of Observational Research
33
Rebalancing Theory Observational Data and Randomization in Development Economics
58
4 The Experimental Approach to Development Economics
78
5 Reflections on the Ethics of Field Experiments
115
6 Instruments Randomization and Learning About Development
141
7 Experimental Reasoning in Social Science
185
8 Misunderstandings Between Experimentalists and Observationalists About Causal Inference
196
If You Focus Only on What They Cant Do You Will Always Be Disappointed
228
References
243
Contributors
267
Index
269
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About the author (2014)

DIVDawn Langan Teele is a Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Yale University/div

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