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Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy: A New Approach

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 June 2011

Michael Coppedge
Affiliation:
Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the University of Notre Dame (coppedge.1@nd.edu)
John Gerring
Affiliation:
Boston University (jgerring@bu.edu)
David Altman
Affiliation:
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Michael Bernhard
Affiliation:
University of Florida
Steven Fish
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley
Allen Hicken
Affiliation:
University of Michigan
Matthew Kroenig
Affiliation:
Georgetown University
Staffan I. Lindberg
Affiliation:
Gothenburg University and the University of Florida
Kelly McMann
Affiliation:
Case Western Reserve University
Pamela Paxton
Affiliation:
University of Texas at Austin
Holli A. Semetko
Affiliation:
Emory University
Svend-Erik Skaaning
Affiliation:
Aarhus University
Jeffrey Staton
Affiliation:
Emory University
Jan Teorell
Affiliation:
Lund University
Corresponding

Abstract

In the wake of the Cold War, democracy has gained the status of a mantra. Yet there is no consensus about how to conceptualize and measure regimes such that meaningful comparisons can be made through time and across countries. In this prescriptive article, we argue for a new approach to conceptualization and measurement. We first review some of the weaknesses among traditional approaches. We then lay out our approach, which may be characterized as historical,multidimensional,disaggregated, and transparent. We end by reviewing some of the payoffs such an approach might bring to the study of democracy.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2011

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