MEASURING POLITICAL DEMOCRACY : Case Expertise, Data Adequacy, and Central America

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Fabrice Lehoucq, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Recent writings concerning measurement of political democracy offer sophisticated discussions of problems of conceptualization, operationalization, and aggregation. Yet they have less to say about the error that derives from the use of inaccurate, partial, or misleading data sources. Draw-ing on evidence from five Central American countries, the authors show this data-induced mea-surement error compromises the validity of the principal, long-term cross-national scales of democracy. They call for an approach to index construction that relies on case expertise and use of a wide range of data sources, and they employ this approach in developing an index of political democracy for the Central American countries during the 20th century. The authors’ index draws on a comprehensive set of secondary and primary sources as it rigorously pursues standards of conceptualization, operationalization, and aggregation. The index’s value is illustrated by showing how it suggests new lines of research in the field of Central American politics.

Additional Information

Comparative Political Studies
Language: English
Date: 2005
democracy, regime indices, measurement, Central America, data sources

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