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The quality of democracy: From crises and success stories


Bühlmann, M (2011). The quality of democracy: From crises and success stories. In: IPSA-ECPR joint conference - Panel 'Challenges and transformations in the Qualities of Democracies: a comparative perspective' , Sao Paolo, 16 February 2011 - 19 February 2011.

Abstract

In this contribution I use the Democracy Barometer, a new instrument designed to measure the quality of established democracies. This instrument is based upon a broad concept of democracy, embracing three principles (freedom, equality, and control) that are ensured by nine functions (individual liberties, rule of law, public sphere, competition, mutual constraints, governmental capability, transparency, participation, and representation). Measuring the degrees of fulfillment for each of these functions allows for cross-country and longitudinal comparisons of the quality of democracy in more than 50 democratic governments between 1990 and 2007. Here, I aspire to four goals: first, I present the Democracy Barometer; second, I describe varieties of democracies in terms of quality; third, I provide a finer grained description of the various patterns of both success and crises; and fourth, I attempt to explain the various developments. The analyses reveal that (1) a huge variety of democracies exists, in terms of different forms and accentuations of the various elements of qualified democracies; (2) there exists neither a crisis of democracy, nor any sign of an end to history; (3) modernization theory, human development, and institutions can explain the variation in development in terms of the quality of democracy in different countries over time. All in all, the Democracy Barometer allows for a very fine-grained analysis of one of the most complex phenomenon in political science: democracy.

In this contribution I use the Democracy Barometer, a new instrument designed to measure the quality of established democracies. This instrument is based upon a broad concept of democracy, embracing three principles (freedom, equality, and control) that are ensured by nine functions (individual liberties, rule of law, public sphere, competition, mutual constraints, governmental capability, transparency, participation, and representation). Measuring the degrees of fulfillment for each of these functions allows for cross-country and longitudinal comparisons of the quality of democracy in more than 50 democratic governments between 1990 and 2007. Here, I aspire to four goals: first, I present the Democracy Barometer; second, I describe varieties of democracies in terms of quality; third, I provide a finer grained description of the various patterns of both success and crises; and fourth, I attempt to explain the various developments. The analyses reveal that (1) a huge variety of democracies exists, in terms of different forms and accentuations of the various elements of qualified democracies; (2) there exists neither a crisis of democracy, nor any sign of an end to history; (3) modernization theory, human development, and institutions can explain the variation in development in terms of the quality of democracy in different countries over time. All in all, the Democracy Barometer allows for a very fine-grained analysis of one of the most complex phenomenon in political science: democracy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Event End Date:19 February 2011
Deposited On:20 Jan 2012 09:36
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:17
Official URL:http://www.saopaulo2011.ipsa.org/paper/quality-democracy-crises-and-success-stories
Related URLs:http://saopaulo2011.ipsa.org/
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-53649

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