Democracy in the matrix

phys.org | 6/21/2018 | Staff
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A new online platform enables users to get information about the democratic quality of a specific country with just a few clicks. The new tool has been designed by political scientists from the University of Würzburg.

Take North Korea, for example: The matrix of that nation is deep red dyed with few exceptions and a total score of 0.05—clearly an autocratic regime. Sweden is quite the opposite. With all fields dark green and a score of 0.95, the country almost achieves the maximum score, making it a paragon of a functioning democracy. Ukraine is positioned somewhere between these two extremes. Some areas are pale green, some light orange, others dark, yielding a total score of 0.51. It is a hybrid regime that includes both democratic and autocratic elements.

Vivid - Graphics - Fields - Information - Quality

The vivid graphics with their differently coloured fields provide information about the democratic quality of a nation at a glance. Political scientists from the University of Würzburg have developed the so-called democracy matrix within the scope of a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Professor Hans-Joachim Lauth, who holds the Chair of Comparative Politics and German Government, was in charge of creating the matrix. He was supported by Lukas Lemm and Oliver Schlenkrich, two research assistants. The matrix was launched a few weeks ago and is now open to all interested parties.

"Instead of specifying a single value to describe a country, our matrix shows a differentiated picture of the strengths and weaknesses of a state's democratic elements," Hans-Joachim Lauth explains. What is more, the matrix enables comparing several countries or illustrating developments over years and decades. Information about nearly 200 countries in the period between 1900 and 2017 can be retrieved from the database, including almost all countries of the world with the exception of a few microstates.

Lauth - Idea

Lauth had the idea to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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