Measuring Democracy and the Quality of Democracy in a World-Wide Approach: Models and Indices of Democracy and the New Findings of the “Democracy Ranking”

Measuring Democracy and the Quality of Democracy in a World-Wide Approach: Models and Indices of Democracy and the New Findings of the “Democracy Ranking”

David F. J. Campbell (Faculty for Interdisciplinary Studies (IFF), Institute of Science Communication and Higher Education Research (WIHO),University of Klagenfurt, Vienna, Austria), Elias G. Carayannis (Department of Information Systems and Technology Management, The George Washington University, School of Business, Washington, DC, USA), Thorsten D. Barth (Vienna Democracy Ranking Association,Vienna, Austria) and George S. Campbell (IBM Austria (retired),Vienna, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/jsesd.2013010101
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Abstract

The central research question for this article is: How can democracy and the quality of democracy be measured globally and empirically? Certainly, democracy measurement represents a wider research field; however, this article wants to contribute to it by offering to the reader an introduction and by giving first views about the ideas of democracy measurement in a global comparison and world-wide approach. The article contrasts different approaches to the measurement of democracy, with a focus on three macro-models of democracy measurement as well as the democratic indices (indicators) that they apply specifically: Freedom House, Democracy Index and Democracy Ranking. All three initiatives want to measure a large number of democracies over a longer period of time. In conclusion, it could, at least implicitly, be argued for Freedom House: the higher the freedom evaluation of a country, the greater the chances are or the more there is an expectation of a tendency for an advanced quality of democracy.
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1. Introduction: Democracy And The Measurement Of Democracy

Democracy and its qualities are confronted today by new challenges. On the one hand, the advanced democracies are in a phase of transformation from the industrial society to a knowledge society (see Dubina et al., 2011), where knowledge or the resources of knowledge are decisive for the advance and progress of democracy (see Carayannis & Campbell, 2006, pp. 3-4; 2010, p. 60; Campbell, 2003; Carayannis & Formica, 2006). On the other hand, crises, wars, terrorism, national debt, climate change, resource shortages, or even the citizens’ loss of trust in politics and policies of democracies challenge further democratic development (see Barth, 2010; Barth, 2011, pp. 1-2). Thus, we see global democracy to be in a phase of radical change or transformation.

Exactly in phases of radical change or transformation there need to be new ideas and perspectives, which help us to seek new democratic goals and societal solutions for a permanent and continuous sustainable development, in order to secure as well as to preserve democracy in the present and future (see, for example, Carayannis & Kaloudis, 2010; Carayannis & Campbell, 2010; Barth, 2011). We can only protect democracy, understand its quality, and react to new challenges, if we recognize the political standing of our democracy today and tomorrow (see Tilly, 2007, p. 6). This is the decisive relevance of the current democracy research and therefore requires the measurement of democracy and democratic quality (see also Campbell & Schaller, 2002; Campbell, 2008; Campbell & Barth, 2009). The central research question of this article is thus: How can democracy and democratic quality be measured globally and empirically? Certainly, the world of democracy measurement is a wider research field; however, this article should contribute to it by offering the reader an introduction and by giving first views about the ideas of democracy measurement in a global comparison and world-wide approach. The results of the Democracy Ranking 2010 are being presented as an example for the measurement of the quality of democracy. What can be said about democracy and the measurement of democracy?

Earlier discussions were more characterized by a dichotomous understanding, where “democracies” were contrasted with “non-democracies” (see for example Dahl, 1971). The global expansion of democracies requires that there is an increased need to distinguish between different forms of democracies. Electoral democracies would only fulfill the minimum expectations for democracies (e.g., the regular performance of elections), democracies with a medium or higher quality (relative to a continuing and expanding extension of rights and freedoms, perhaps in a mutual effect with the development of societies), however, determine important reform topics for the necessary further development and evolution of democracies. The question of democracy gains relevance since it is interesting to comprehend the extent of democratic quality. Thus it is also necessary to add to democracies the systematic measurement of the quality of democracy, whereby not every democratic measurement must refer to democratic quality. Simpler democracy measurements could emphasize how often there is a political change of government parties (government leaders). The measurement of democratic quality is already more complex and could refer therefore to the balance and interaction of freedom and equality (see O’Donnell 2004, pp. 56-57; Diamond & Morlino, 2004, 2005; Morlino, 2004a, 2004b; Pelinka, 2008). Nevertheless, every measurement of democracy should focus on Abraham Lincoln’s definition that Guillermo O’Donnell paraphrased as: “Contemporary democracy hardly is by the people; but it certainly is of the people and, because of this, it should also be for the people.” (O’Donnell, 2005, p. 9).

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