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Measuring Democracy

, 200 pages

7 line drawings

February 2009



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Measuring Democracy

A Bridge between Scholarship and Politics

Although democracy is a widely held value, concrete measurement of it is elusive. Gerardo L. Munck’s constructive assessment of the methods used to measure democracies promises to bring order to the debate in academia and in practice.

Drawing on his years of academic research on democracy and measurement and his practical experience evaluating democratic practices for the United Nations and the Organization of American States, Munck's discussion bridges the theories of academia with practical applications. In proposing a more open and collaborative relationship between theory and action, he makes the case for reassessing how democracy is measured and encourages fundamental changes in methodology. Munck’s field-tested framework for quantifying and qualifying democracy is built around two instruments he developed: the UN Development Programme’s Electoral Democracy Index and a case-by-case election monitoring tool used by the OAS.

Measuring Democracy offers specific, real-world lessons that scholars and practitioners can use to improve the quality and utility of data about democracy.

Gerardo L. Munck is a professor in the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California. He consults regularly on democracy evaluation for international and nongovernmental organizations, including the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Munck is the coauthor of Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics, also published by Johns Hopkins.

"Munck’s book is a laudable effort to build bridges between the world of democratic theory and related methodologies and the practical world of politics and government, which in the past have remained isolated from each other. Data and measurements produced by scholars do have an impact outside the academic world, and, as Munck compellingly argues, scholars have a social responsibility to produce useful knowledge."

"This is an important and timely contribution. The increasing academic and policy interest in democracy and democratization demands improved analytical and empirical criteria. This book is a significant contribution to this task, for which Munck is superbly qualified."

"Gerardo Munck has thought long and hard about the measurement of democracy. With this brilliant book, he delivers the fruits of that careful thinking in a way that will stimulate methodologists, improve the results of scholarly analyses of democracy, and provide concrete tools for election observers in the field. This book goes further than any other that I know toward bringing conceptual and measurement validity into the study of democracy."

"There is something for everybody in this book... Highly recommended."

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