Throughout the world, voters lack access to information about politicians, government performance, and public services. Efforts to remedy these informational deficits are numerous. Yet do informational campaigns influence voter behavior and increase democratic accountability? Through the inaugural Metaketa Initiative, sponsored by the Evidence in Governance and Politics (EGAP) research network, we aim to address this substantive question and at the same time introduce a new model for cumulative learning that increases coordination among otherwise independent researcher teams. We present the cumulative results (meta-analysis) from six independently conducted but coordinated field experimental studies, the findings from a related evaluation of whether practitioners utilize this information as expected, and discuss lessons learned from EGAP’s efforts to coordinate field experiments, increase replication of theoretically important questions across contexts, and increase the external validity of field experimental research.
Susan D. Hyde is Professor of Political Science and Avice M. Saint Chair in Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the Executive Director of the EGAP (Evidence in Governance and Politics) research network. Her research examines attempts by international actors to change politics or policies within sovereign states, particularly in the developing world. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2006, and has held residential fellowships at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and Princeton University's Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance. Her first book, The Pseudo-Democrat's Dilemma: Why Election Observation Became an International Norm, was published by Cornell University Press in 2011, and has received the Chadwick F. Alger Prize for the best book on the subject of international organization and multilateralism, the best book award from the Comparative Democratization section of the American Political Science Association, and Yale’s 2012 Gustav Ranis International Book Prize. Her articles have appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, the ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, International Organization, The Journal of Politics, Perspectives on Politics, Political Analysis, and World Politics.
Thad Dunning is Robson Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley and directs the Center on the Politics of Development. He studies comparative politics, political economy, and research methodology. His current work on ethnic and other cleavages draws on field and natural experiments and qualitative fieldwork in Latin America, India, and Africa. Dunning has written on a range of methodological topics, including causal inference, statistical analysis, and multi-method research. He is chairing the inaugural EGAP Metaketa initiative, which aims to achieve greater cumulation of findings from experimental research on international development and political accountability. Dunning is the author of several award-winning books, including Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences: A Design-Based Approach (2012, Cambridge University Press—winner of the Best Book Award from the American Political Science Association’s Experiments Section), and Crude Democracy: Natural Resource Wealth and Political Regimes (2008, Cambridge University Press—winner of the Best Book Award from APSA’s Comparative Democratization Section). He also co-authored Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2013), which won the 2014 Luebbert Prize for best book in comparative politics. Dunning’s articles have appeared in several journals, including the American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Political Analysis. He received a Ph.D. in political science and an M.A. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley (2006). Before returning to Berkeley, he was Professor of Political Science at Yale University.