Experimental Foundations of Political Science

Donald R. Kinder and Thomas R. Palfrey, Editors
Shows the range and power of experimental methods in political science


This book provides a comprehensive view of the range and effectiveness of experimental methods in political science. The classic readings that are included have been selected to demonstrate the potential for experimental research across a variety of traditional and contemporary research areas in political science.

The volume includes studies of the media's impact on voter information, the testing of formal political models of voting, the measurement of public opinion, collective action and Prisoner's Dilemma problems, information and voting, bureaucratic and legislative rules and agendas, political choice behavior, and political psychology. Each of the five sections includes an overview of the experimental research in that subject area. The introduction explores the contributions of experiments to political science and shows the increasingly influential role of laboratory experimentation in the field.

Contributors are Lawrence Bobo, Robyn Dawes, John Ferejohn, Robert Forsythe, Ruth Hamill, John Herstein, Mark Isaac, Milton Lodge, George Marcus, Roger Noll, John Orbell, James Piereson, George Quattrone, Howard Schuman, Randy Simmons, John Sullivan, Susan Thomas, Amos Tversky, Alphons J.C. Van De Kragt, James Walker, and Janet Weiss.

Praise / Awards

  • "Kinder and Palfrey provide an excellent review of the experimental literature in political science, and they give a thoughtful summary of the virtues and vices of experimental methods. . . . [A]lmost every reader will come away from the book with a sense that experiments can produce powerful and interesting results for a variety of political questions. The book is an excellent beginning for those interested in expanding their methodological toolset to include experiments, and I would certainly recommend it as part of a course covering general research methods."
    Political Methodologist

Look Inside


Preface     v

On Behalf of an Experimental Political Science
Donald R. Kinder and Thomas R. Palfrey     1

1. The Meaning and Measurement of Public Opinion

Coming to Grips with the Holy Ghost
Donald R. Kinder     43

Survey-Based Experiments on White Racial Attitudes towards Residential Integration
Howard Schuman and Lawrence Bobo     53

Ideological Constraint in the Mass Public: A Methodological Critique and Some New Findings
John L. Sullivan, James E. Piereson, and George E. Marcus     79

A Partisan Schema for Political Information Processing
Milton Lodge and Ruth Hamill     97

2. Political Choice

Rational and Not-So-Rational Processes in Judgment and Choice
Donald R. Kinder     119

Keeping the Voter's Limits in Mind: A Cognitive Process Analysis of Decision-Making in Voting
John A. Herstein     129

Contrasting Rational and Psychological Analyses of Political Choice
George A. Quattrone and Amos Tversky     159

Coping With Complexity: An Experimental Study of Public Policy Decision-Making
Janet A. Weiss     185

3. Collective Action

The Conflict between Private Incentives and the Common Good
Thomas R. Palfrey     211

An Experimental Examination of Auction Mechanisms for Discrete Public Goods
John A. Ferejohn, Robert Forsythe, Roger G. Noll, and Thomas R. Palfrey     221

Organizing Groups for Collective Action
Robyn M. Dawes, John M. Orbell, Randy T. Simmons, and Alphons J.C. van de Kragt     245

Divergent Evidence on Free Riding: An Experimental Examination of Possible Explanations
R. Mark Isaac, James M. Walker, and Susan H. Thomas     265

4. Information and Democracy

Signal and Noise in Democratic Conversation
Thomas R. Palfrey and Donald R. Kinder     305

Experimental Demonstrations of the "Not-So-Minimal" Consequences of Television News Programs
Shanto Iyengar, Mark D. Peters, and Donald R. Kinder     313

Information and Elections: Retrospective Voting and Rational Expectations
Richard D. McKelvey and Peter C. Ordeshook     333

Baby Books and Ballots: The Impact of Congressional Mail on Constituent Opinion
Albert D. Cover and Bruce S. Brumberg     363

5. Institutional Rules and Procedures

Agendas and Decisions in Government
Thomas R. Palfrey     389

Committee Decisions under Majority Rule: An Experimental Study
Morris P. Fiorina and Charles R. Plott     399

Bureaucratic Agenda Control: Imposition or Bargaining?
Cheryl L. Eavey and Gary J. Miller     435

Agenda Influence and Its Implications
Michael E. Levine and Charles R. Plott     461

Contributors     497

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 512pp.
  • tables, figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 1993
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-08181-3

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  • $48.95 U.S.