Gradations of Democracy? Empirical Tests of Alternative Conceptualizations
"Gradations of Democracy? Empirical Tests of Alternative Conceptualizations." 2000. American Journal of Political Science 44: 293-300. (987.8Kb)
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A group of influential scholars has argued emphatically that democracy should be measured dichotomously. This position challenges--on both theoretical and methodological grounds--the widespread practice of measuring democracy with graded scales, a practice which has been endorsed by leading methodologists who study democracy. This article proposes several empirical tests that evaluate the competing strategies. The evidence suggests that, on the whole, graded measures have superior validity and reliability. Hence, we should understand that specific cases correspond to the concept of democracy to varying degrees--degrees that can and should be measured.