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Third-party-funded project

The Democracy Matrix as an Alternative to the Democracy Indices of Freedom House and Polity: Implementation of the Varieties-of-Democracy-Data by Using the 15-Field-Matrix of Democracy

Project management at the University of Würzburg:

Participating scientists:

The measurement of democracy has developed to an important domain of Comparative Politics. Due to conceptual and methodological flaws there are hardly any qualified measurements of democracy today, which are able to feature a long time series and allow a differentiated analysis of central parts of democracy as well. This represents a significant research gap.

With the 15-Field-Matrix the applicant offers an own conceptually well-grounded proposal, which distinguishes between central democratic institutions (procedures of decision; regulation of the intermediate sphere; public communication; guarantee of rights and rules settlement/implementation) and three dimensions (political freedom, political equality and judicial and political control). Up to now, a comprehensive cross-sectional or longitudinal study is still missing due to the scarce data basis. This is going to change with the new, freely available dataset of the Varieties-of-Democracy-Project by the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and the Kellogg Institute of the University of Notre Dame (USA). This dataset, based on sophisticated methodological considerations, offers a broad range of indicators for a large number of cases over a long time period (1900-2012).

Therefore, this project has four objectives: First, the conceptual specification of the 15-Field-Matrix as a precondition for the optimal use as a quantitative measurement tool; Second, the operationalization of the matrix with the help of the Varieties-of-Democracy-data to produce the new democracy measurement tool; Third, the descriptive analysis and the assessment of the validity of the new dataset for the democracy measurement; Fourth, the creation of an English website, which provides simple functions to output graphics and tables besides free access to the dataset, the codebook and the methodology.

Thus, the new measurement tool is based on a differentiated conception of democracy and the different aggregation stages of the democracy matrix allow the researchers on the one hand to determine the regime classification, and on the other hand to identify potentials for improvements by the deficient characteristics of single fields, institutions or dimensions. Finally, the specifications of the dimensions and institutions can be condensed into empirical profiles of democracies which provide new insights in both the democratization process and in the functioning of established democracies. In sum, the dataset covering 200 countries over 100 years provides with his 600.000 measurement points an excellent basis for the measurement of democracy, so that an attractive alternative to the current datasets of Polity and Freedom House is offered.

Key words:
    Measurement of Democracy
    democracy index
    Democracy Matrix
    profiles of democracy
    quality of democracy

Projekt period: from 04.2016 to 04.2018

Funding institution:
DFG ,Granting date: 22.12.2015