Natural experiment  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A natural experiment is an empirical study in which individuals (or clusters of individuals) are exposed to the experimental and control conditions that are determined by nature or by other factors outside the control of the investigators. The process governing the exposures arguably resembles random assignment. Thus, natural experiments are observational studies and are not controlled in the traditional sense of a randomized experiment. Natural experiments are most useful when there has been a clearly defined exposure involving a well defined subpopulation (and the absence of exposure in a similar subpopulation) such that changes in outcomes may be plausibly attributed to the exposure.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Natural experiment" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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