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35 Comp. Pol. Stud. 5 (2002)

handle is hein.journals/compls35 and id is 1 raw text is: 

A comprehensive and integrated framework for the analysis of data is offered and used to assess
data sets on democracy. The framework first distinguishes among three challenges that are
sequentially addressed: conceptualization, measurement, and aggregation. In turn, it specifies
distinct tasks associated with these challenges and the standards of assessment that pertain to
each task. This framework is applied to the data sets on democracy most frequently used in cur-
rent statistical research, generating a systematic evaluation of these data sets. The authors' con-
clusion is that constructors of democracy indices tend to be quite self-conscious about method-
ological issues but that even the best indices suffer from important weaknesses. More
constructively, the article's assessment of existing data sets on democracy identifies distinct
areas in which attempts to improve the quality of data on democracy might fruitfully be focused.

                             CONCEPTUALIZING AND

                         MEASURING DEMOCRACY

                           Evaluating Alternative Indices

                                                GERARDO L. MUNCK
                                                       JAY  VERKUILEN
                           University   of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

T he study of democracy-a core concern within comparative politics
     and international relations-increasingly   has drawn  on  sophisticated
statistical methods of causal inference. This is a welcome development, and
the contributions of this quantitative literature are significant. However, with
a few notable exceptions,' quantitative researchers have paid sparse attention
to the quality of the data on democracy that they analyze. Indeed, the assess-
ments  that have been carried out are usually restricted to fairly informal dis-
cussions of alternative data sets and somewhat  superficial examinations  of

    1. See Bollen (1980, 1986, 1991, 1993), Bollen and Paxton (2000), and Foweraker and
Krznaric (2000). See also Gleditsch and Ward (1997) and Coppedge (1999).

AUTHORS'   NOTE:  We would like to thank Chris Achen, James Caporaso, David Collier
Michael Coppedge, James Kuklinski, Mark Lichbach, James Mahoney, Scott Mainwaring,
Sebastian Mazzuca, Anibal Prez-Liildn, Robert Pahre, Cindy Skach, Richard Snyder and three
anonymous reviewers for their detailed and helpful comments.
COMPARATIVE  POLITICAL STUDIES, Vol. 35 No. 1, February 2002 5-34
D 2002 Sage Publications


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