Call-for-Papers: Symposium on Experiments in PAR


  Towards an Experimental Public Administration

  DEADLINE: 15 October 2014


Symposium Guest Editors

 Sebastian Jilke (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)

 Steven Van de Walle (Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands)

 Soonhee Kim (KDI School of Public Policy and Management, Republic of Korea)


Experiments in the social sciences typically involve two main attributes: randomization and manipulation. By this, researchers hope to estimate the causal effect of a given manipulable treatment (versus no treatment) – to which experimental subjects are randomly allocated – on a given outcome (for example the effect of performance-related-pay on work motivation). While such a research strategy certainly comes with new challenges, it provides a clear-cut solution to empirical problems of endogeneity (such as reverse-causality, omitted variable bias, or selection bias) that seem endemic in a survey-oriented discipline like public administration. In doing so, an experimental research agenda can provide robust answers to old questions that are of theoretical importance, such as the test of an extended version of Niskanen’s budget maximization model (Moynihan, 2013), the effect of governmental performance information and transparency on citizen’s voting behavior and trust (Grimmelikhuijsen et al., 2013; James, 2011), or on the relationship between public service motivation and job performance (Bellé, 2013). In other words, if well designed, experiments enrich the methodological toolbox of public administration research and help to increase usable knowledge. Thus it is not surprising that recent calls in the discipline have been made to more frequently experiment (e.g. Perry, 2012; Wright and Grant, 2010).

The use of experiments in public administration is slowly increasing. While commentators have indeed noted that experiments are nowadays more often utilized within the discipline (Bouwman and Grimmelikhuijsen, 2014), public administration still lags behind neighbouring fields such as psychology, political science, economics, or management studies (see Van de Walle and Van Ryzin, 2011). The lag may be particularly related to the fact that public administration has no experimental tradition and a limited overall acquaintance among students of public administration with the utilization of experiments. Thus, the envisaged symposium aims to provide an overview of a broad range of experiments within public administration, hoping to contribute to the development of an experimental tradition in public administration. It furthermore seeks to provide encouragement and inspiration for public administration scholars to more frequently experiment within the studies they conduct.

Papers are encouraged to apply a wide range of experimental methods (e.g. survey experiments, field experiments, laboratory experiments, but also quasi-experimental approaches), designs (e.g. multi-factorial designs, blocked randomization designs, within-subjects designs, or split ballots) and analytical techniques (e.g. Difference-in-Difference estimators, regression discontinuities, causal mediation analysis) to substantive fields of interest in public administration. Submissions of meta-analyses of experimental evidence and critical review essays about experiments are also encouraged.

Manuscripts should be submitted by 15 October 2014 to the coordinating guest editor at After a first round of screening, selected authors will be invited to submit their manuscript directly to PAR‘s Editorial Manager System. All manuscripts will be double-blind reviewed via PAR‘s Editorial Manager System. A final decision on papers will be made by the journal after full peer review. Author’s should follow PAR‘s style guidelines.



Bellé, Nicola (2013). Experimental Evidence on the Relationship between Public Service Motivation and Job Performance. Public Administration Review, 73(1): 143-153.

Bouwman, Robin and Stephan Grimmelikhuijsen (2014). Reviewing experimental public administration research: the emergence of a hybrid tradition. Paper presented at the 2014 IRSPM conference in Ottawa.

Grimmelikhuijsen, Stephan; Porumbescu, Gregory; Hong, Boram and Tobin Im (2013). The Effect of Transparency on Trust in Government: A Cross-National Comparative Experiment. Public Administration Review 73(4): 575-586.

James, Oliver (2011). Performance Measures and Democracy: Information Effects of Citizens in Field and Laboratory Experiments. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 21(3): 399-418.

Moynihan, Donald P. (2013). Does Public Service Motivation Lead to Budget Maximization? Evidence from an Experiment. International Public Management Journal 16(2): 179-196.

Perry, James L. (2012). How Can We Improve Our Science to Generate More Usable Knowledge for Public Professionals? Public Administration Review 72(4): 479-482.

Van de Walle, Steven and Gregg G. Van Ryzin (2011). The Order of Questions in a Survey on Citizen Satisfaction with Public Services: Lessons from a Split-ballot Experiment. Public Administration 89(4): 1436-1450.

Wright, Bradley E. and Adam M. Grant (2010). Unanswered Questions about Public Service Motivation: Designing Research to Address Key Issues of Emergence and Effects. Public Administration Review, 70(5): 691-700.


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Workshop in Speyer on Experiments in PA

On 9-10 September 2014, the IIAS study group on trust and public attitudes organises a workshop in Speyer (Germany; prior to the EGPA conference) on the use of experiments in public administration research. During this workshop we want to exchange recent research findings, build a community of scholars that use experimental techniques to study citizens’ attitudes and behaviors towards government, and stimulate collaborations for setting-up cross-national experiments.

The organisers will work towards identifying suitable publication outlets for presented papers. A keynote speech will be delivered by Gregg G. Van Ryzin (Rutgers University).

Workshop Programme

Key Dates:
Deadline for submission of paper abstracts: 9, May 2014
Notification of authors: 16, May 2014
Submission of final papers: 2, September 2014

Contact information of workshop organisers:
Steven Van de Walle (vandewalle[AT]
Soonhee Kim (soonheekim[AT]
Sebastian Jilke (jilke[AT]

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Successful workshop in Seoul

With Korea University, the Seoul National University, Yonsei University and the Korean Institute of Public Administration, we organised a workshop focusing on trust in public administration, focusing on experiences in Asian countries. During this 1.5 day workshop, scholars from Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Belgium and the US presented their recent work. The group is now working towards increased collaboration, a joint publication, and a new workshop next year.


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Workshop: Trust in Public Administration, Seoul, 11-12 Dec.

On 11-12 December the Study Group, in collaboration with Korea University, the Seoul National University, Yonsei University and the Korean Institute of Public Administration, organises a workshop in Seoul for scholars working on public trust in public administration and public services. During this small-scale workshop, we want to exchange recent research findings and stimulate regional research collaboration.

Download the updated programme (12 December)


The deadline for the submission  abstracts has passed. The full call for papers can be viewed here.

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ECPR Workshop – citizens and public service performance

The IIAS Study group is teaming up with a workshop at ECPR on Citizens and Public Service Performance during the ECPR Joint Sessions, Antwerp, Belgium, 10-15th April 2012.

The workshop analyses the interaction between citizens, users and public services that entail public funding, ownership or regulation in the context of contemporary service delivery mechanisms. The workshop will discuss a set of core themes: How do structures for choice, exit, coproduction, consultation and broader voice affect citizens and users’ interaction with public services? How does transparency, including published information about the performance of services, and communications technology affect citizens and users’ interaction with services? Are interactions now consumer rather than citizen oriented? Do market and related methods interact with, and even crowd-out, citizens’ political voice activities? What are the effect of service delivery structures on citizen cooperation with services and coproduction of services? What are the effects of citizen and user feedback on political and managerial service providers, service performance and the continued use of particular mechanisms? Are different groups of citizens and users differently able to use delivery mechanisms to advance their interests? What is the current state of policy-makers’ knowledge about these issues and how can social science inform the future institutional design of mechanisms for citizens and users’ interaction with public services? The workshop will be chaired by Oliver James (University of Exeter) and Steven Van de Walle (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

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