Skip Navigation

Special Issue: Natural Experiments in Political Science

A search of recent political science literature and conference presentations shows substantial fascination with the concept of the natural experiment. This special issue, guest edited by Gregory Robinson, John E. McNulty and Jonathan S. Krasno, focuses on encouraging applied researchers to look for natural experiments in their own work and to think more systematically about research design.

Admittedly, no natural experiment can claim the internal validity of the ideal laboratory experiment. But natural experiments have the advantage of availability and often enjoy exceptional external validity, as well as internal validity that can, at times, approach the laboratory standard. The guest editors hope to encourage other scholars to look for natural experiments in their own areas of study, to think carefully about to appropriately analyze them, and if nothing else, to use the language of experimental design in explicating their own research designs and in evaluating those of other scholars.

Table of Contents

Observing the Counterfactual? The Search for Political Experiments in Nature
Gregory Robinson, John E. McNulty, and Jonathan S. Krasno

Apportionment Cycles as Natural Experiments
Roy Elis, Neil Malhotra, and Marc Meredith

Opium for the Masses: How Foreign Media Can Stabilize Authoritarian Regimes
Holger Lutz Kern and Jens Hainmueller

Testing the Accuracy of Regression Discontinuity Analysis Using Experimental Benchmarks
Donald P. Green, Terence Y. Leong, Holger L. Kern, Alan S. Gerber, and Christopher W. Larimer

Do Congressional Candidates Have Reverse Coattails? Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design
David E. Broockman

Driving Saints to Sin: How Increasing the Difficulty of Voting Dissuades Even the Most Motivated Voters
John E. McNulty, Conor M. Dowling, and Margaret H. Ariotti

View the table of contents with abstracts here.

Purchase a Copy Today

This special issue is available for purchase as a single issue for just £17/$25/€25. Click here to order issue 17/4 online.