How to measure polyarchy with Freedom House: a proposal for revision

How to measure polyarchy with Freedom House: a proposal for revision In studies on democracy and democratization, the Freedom House Index (FHI) is frequently used to measure the concept of polyarchy. This approach creates an often noticed discrepancy between the conceptual and measurement levels. The concept of polyarchy is regarded as a minimalist definition of democracy, which mainly refers to the procedural aspects of political systems, while FHI indicates a maximalist definition of democracy. This article presents a proposal to improve the conceptual validity when FHI is used to measure the concept of polyarchy. The proposal suggests that the FHI is adjusted in two aspects. First, some sub-categories within the FHI are excluded based on their lack of relevance for the concept of polyarchy. Second, the principle of aggregation is changed from simple arithmetic addition to multiplication, which corresponds to the idea that all democratic institutions, according to the concept of polyarchy, are necessary for the democratic system. These two suggestions create a revisited index that is based on the FHI. As illustrated with empirical analyses, the revisited index provides a quite different view of democratization at the global and state levels. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

How to measure polyarchy with Freedom House: a proposal for revision

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Social Sciences, general; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11135-012-9732-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In studies on democracy and democratization, the Freedom House Index (FHI) is frequently used to measure the concept of polyarchy. This approach creates an often noticed discrepancy between the conceptual and measurement levels. The concept of polyarchy is regarded as a minimalist definition of democracy, which mainly refers to the procedural aspects of political systems, while FHI indicates a maximalist definition of democracy. This article presents a proposal to improve the conceptual validity when FHI is used to measure the concept of polyarchy. The proposal suggests that the FHI is adjusted in two aspects. First, some sub-categories within the FHI are excluded based on their lack of relevance for the concept of polyarchy. Second, the principle of aggregation is changed from simple arithmetic addition to multiplication, which corresponds to the idea that all democratic institutions, according to the concept of polyarchy, are necessary for the democratic system. These two suggestions create a revisited index that is based on the FHI. As illustrated with empirical analyses, the revisited index provides a quite different view of democratization at the global and state levels.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Jun 23, 2012

References

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