Methodological Frontiers of Public Finance Field Experiments.
Jeffrey R. Kling, The Brookings Institution.
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate how a rich array of methods can be applied to increase the relevance of field experiments in public economics. Two cross-cutting themes are important in multiple phases of the research. First, greater statistical sophistication can draw more value from a field experiment without obscuring the simple and compelling information from the differences in average outcomes of intervention and control groups. Second, the methodological frontier is interdisciplinary, drawing on knowledge and techniques developed in psychology, anthropology, and sociology that can be adapted in order to make public finance field experiments more useful. Keywords: social experiment; program evaluation; mixed methods