Measuring Electoral Democracy with V-Dem Data: Introducing a New Polyarchy Index

58 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2016 Last revised: 24 May 2016

See all articles by Jan Teorell

Jan Teorell

Lund University - Department of Political Science

Michael Coppedge

University of Notre Dame - Kellogg Institute; University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science

Svend-Erik Skaaning

Aarhus University

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute; Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: March 1, 2016

Abstract

This paper presents a new measure of electoral democracy, or “polyarchy”, for a global sample of 173 countries from 1900 to the present based on the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) data, enabling us to address several deficiencies in extant measures of electoral democracy, such as Freedom House and Polity. The V-Dem data derive from expert polls of more than 2,600 country experts from around the world, with on average 5 experts rating each indicator. By measuring the five components of “Elected officials”, “Free and fair elections”, “Freedom of expression”, “Associational autonomy” and “Inclusive citizenship” separately, we anchor this new index directly in Dahl’s (1971) extremely influential theoretical framework, and can both show how well indicators match components as well as how components map the overall index. We also find that characteristics of the V-Dem country experts do not systematically predict their ratings on our indicators, nor differences between these ratings and existing measures such as FH and Polity, with which they are strongly correlated. Finally, we provide systematic measures of uncertainty (or measurement error) at every level. We showcase the usefulness of the new measure for understanding developments of electoral democracy over time, for comparing countries at a particular time point, and for understanding its relationship to economic modernization through disaggregation.

Suggested Citation

Teorell, Jan and Coppedge, Michael and Skaaning, Svend-Erik and Lindberg, Staffan I., Measuring Electoral Democracy with V-Dem Data: Introducing a New Polyarchy Index (March 1, 2016). V-Dem Working Paper 2016:25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2740935 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2740935

Jan Teorell (Contact Author)

Lund University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Department of Political Science
Box 52
Lund, SE 40530
Sweden

Michael Coppedge

University of Notre Dame - Kellogg Institute ( email )

Hesburgh Center
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

University of Notre Dame, Department of Political Science

216 Hesburgh Center
Notre Dame, IN New South Wales 46556-5646
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nd.edu/~mcoppedg/crd

Svend-Erik Skaaning

Aarhus University ( email )

Bartholins Allé 7
Aarhus, 8000
Denmark

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se/varianter-pa-demokrati--v-dem-/

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
549
Abstract Views
1,875
rank
51,322
PlumX Metrics