Expanding the Toolkit of Experimentation

Christopher Ansell, Martin Bartenberger

Publikation: Working/Discussion PaperWorking Paper/Preprint


Experimentalism has emerged as a prominent approach to addressing complex social, economic, political and environmental problems. We survey the diversity of experimentalism, identifying three distinct forms of experimentation - controlled, Darwinian, and generative. We argue that these distinct forms of experimentation have different strengths and weaknesses and are relevant in different contexts. While acknowledging the value of randomized control trials (RCTs) for isolating causation, we argue against the tendency to erect RCTs as the 'gold standard' of experimentation. Building on Pragmatist ideas, we distinguish between epistemic and political learning and argue that experimental approaches to environmental problem-solving must be more sensitive to this distinction. Drawing on the literature on adaptive management, democratic experimentalism, and environmental policy, we illustrate how this wider appreciation of experimentalism enriches the tool kit for addressing environmental problems.
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 1 Okt. 2014