We published a new article on Field Experiments in Public Administration, in the top journal Public Administration Review. Read it open access here!

Abstract Field Experiments in PA

Field experiments have become popular in public administration. By allowing for the identification of causal effects in realistic settings, field experiments may become central in several research agendas of relevance to the field. Conducting field experiments is difficult and problems often occur along the way. However, researchers new to the method have few resources in public administration to consider the problems that arise when conducting field experiments. This systematic review identifies 42 field experiments in public administration and serves as an introduction to field experiments in public administration. The article discusses how field experiments developed over time and highlights trends in field experimentation in public administration. It then discusses issues to consider when designing field experiments. Among these are costs, practicality, ethics, and validity. Finally, the authors suggest a future research agenda for public administration field experiments.

Evidence for Practice

  • Field experiments have high value for public administration scholars and practitioners, as they may allow for causal inference in real-world settings.
  • Field experiments are often difficult to conduct.
  • Researchers and practitioners conducting field experiments should consider, among other things, the costs, practicality, ethics, and validity of their studies.


Jesper Hansen (Aarhus University, Denmark) & Lars Tummers (Utrecht University, the Netherlands)


Hansen, J. A. J., & Tummers, L. (2020). A Systematic Review of Field Experiments in Public AdministrationPublic Administration Review.

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