In recent years, a growing body of literature has widely investigated the impact of role-playing simulations in teaching politics and international relations. While scholars agree that participating in simulations is helpful for the students in developing their skills, the evidence about benefits is more mixed. Moreover, the question whether all students—regardless of their demographic or academic background—benefit similarly from simulations remains largely unanswered. This article, based on a cross-national survey submitted to students from Italy and the Netherlands who have participated in the Model United Nations (MUN), provides an innovative contribution to the current literature by looking at views and opinions of students coming from different educational contexts. Our empirical results suggest that students perceive that MUN increases their skills regardless of their academic and socio-demographic background. The quantitative analysis, based on OLS regression models, reveals that the individual students’ background does not influence their perceived benefit, nor their enjoyment of the experience. MUNs appear to be educational as well as fun for all students, regardless of their age, gender, field of study, seniority, and academic homeland.

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European Political Science
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Cicchi, L. (Lorenzo), Calossi, E. (Enrico), Onderco, M., & Coticchia, F. (Fabrizio). (2020). I love this game: the interplay between experience and background in role-playing simulations: insights from MUN participants in Italy and the Netherlands. European Political Science. doi:10.1057/s41304-020-00277-8