Varieties of Democracy
Since 2008, in partnership with the Quality of Government Institute in Sweden and the University of Gothenburg, Notre Dame’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies has been a partner in a Swedish Foreign Ministry-funded project to develop a new approach to measuring specific components of democracy worldwide. In order to better conceptualize and measure democracy, this project focuses on six tasks:
- distinguish among six high-level conceptions of democracy;
- distinguish among dozens of lower-level components of democracy such as regular elections, judicial independence, direct democracy, and gender equality;
- provide disaggregated indicators for each conception and each component;
- cover all countries (and some independent territories) from 1900 to present whenever possible;
- provide an estimate of measurement reliability for each rating; and
- make public all ratings, free of charge, in a user-friendly interface.
This project will lead to more precise, valid, and reliable indicators of democracy, which can then be used by government and NGOs to evaluate the impact of their own democracy promotion efforts and decide where to allocate future funding.