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

Working paper
Authors Jan Teorell
Michael Coppedge
Svend-Erik Skaaning
Staffan I Lindberg
Publisher Göteborgs universitet. V-Dem Institute
Publication year 2016
Published at V-Dem Institute
Language en
Links https://www.v-dem.net/media/filer_p...
Subject categories Political Science

Abstract

Why is the exercise of political power highly concentrated in some polities and widely dispersed in others? We argue that one persistent causal factor is demographic. Populous polities are characterized by less concentrated structures of authority. To explain this relationship we invoke two mechanisms: efficiency and trust. The theory is demonstrated with a wide variety of empirical measures and in two settings: (1) cross-country analyses including most sovereign states and extending back to the 19th century and (2) within-country analyses focused on states, counties, and localities in the United States.

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