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Measuring Democracy - Eight indices: Polity, Freedom House and V-Dem

Martin Paldam ()
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Martin Paldam: Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University, Postal: Fuglesangs Alle 4, DK-8210 Aarhus V, Denmark

Economics Working Papers from Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University

Abstract: The paper is an empirical study of eight democracy indices and income. The aggregation problem for these indices is large, and thus the gray zone of measurement uncertainty is wide. The indices have no natural scale. Even the top anchor of full democracy is treated differently. In addition, the indices are conceptually different, use different scales, etc. However, they are still highly correlated. Income and all eight indices have one and only one common factor, which is the Democratic Transition, except in the OPEC/MENA sample. Within-project indices are even more correlated. Thus, the details of the assessments used by each project are more important than the conceptual differences. A country-by-country comparison is made of Polity and the Polyarchy index after it is converted to the Polity scale. Many countries are treated differently by the indices. The difference between the two is an estimate of the measurement uncertainty for democracy indices. It is almost three Polity points.

Keywords: Democracy indices; aggregation problem; democratic transition (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A12 K10 P51 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 31
Date: 2021-08-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-isf and nep-pol
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