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Measuring Effective Democracy: The Human Empowerment Approach

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The core idea inspiring democracy is to empower people. To measure democracy in ways that capture its empowering nature, one must focus on popular rights and take into account rule of law as a state quality that makes these rights effective. Based on this premise, an index of "effective democracy," tested for 150 states, best represents the empowering nature of democracy because it most clearly captures democracy's embedding in empowering conditions in the wider society. Effective democracy is shown to be most firmly embedded in (a) empowering socioeconomic conditions that make people capable of practicing democracy and (b) empowering sociocultural conditions that make them willing to do so. People empowerment appears to be a unity of empowering societal conditions and empowering regime characteristics.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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