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Respect for Civil Liberties During the Third Wave of Democratization: Presenting a New Dataset

Abstract

The literature on state repression has increased voluminously in recent decades. However, First Amendment-type civil liberties have not received much attention compared to neighbouring freedoms such as electoral rights and physical integrity rights. This neglect is arguably related to the lack of high-quality disaggregated measures. In this paper, we present a new dataset on respect for civil liberties—the Civil Liberties Dataset (CLD)—which includes indicators on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of religion, and freedom of movement for 207 countries in the period 1976–2010. An assessment of the levels, development, sequencing, and correlates of civil liberties not only reveals a number of interesting patterns, it also shows that the CLD has a competitive edge vis-à-vis extant measures. We conclude that the CLD opens new avenues for research on state repression in general and civil liberties in particular.

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Notes

  1. In the human rights literature mostly understood as freedom from disappearances, political killings, torture, and political imprisonment.

  2. At least for the period until 2005. Since then, the sub-component scores of the Freedom in the World survey have been made publically available.

  3. E.g., the Countries at the Crossroads, Freedom of the Press, and Nations in Transit datasets compiled by Freedom House and the Bertelsmann Transformation Index provided by the Bertelsmann Foundation.

  4. The high number of countries is partly a consequence of splits and mergers of a few units over the period. The only sovereign unit not covered by the CLD is the Vatican State.

  5. The only exception is the coding of the US (not covered by these reports), where we have relied on the country narratives produced as part of the Freedom in the World survey by Freedom House.

  6. In transforming the information into the scores constituting the dataset, at least two independent coders (trained graduate students well-versed in comparative politics and, regarding the (post-)communist and Latin American countries for the period 1977–2003, also Svend-Erik Skaaning) assigned scores to all the country-years. In case of the Latin American and (post-)communist countries 1979–2003, disagreements were settled by discussions among the coders, and for the remaining country-years a third coder was authorized with the final judgment in the case of disagreement. For a more detailed description of the coding standards and the full dataset, please visit: www.ps.au.dk/dedere. Regarding inter-coder reliability tests, these have been run for all four freedoms for all years. The percent agreement ranges from 0.73 (freedom of assembly/association) to 0.78 (freedom of movement). The agreement tends to increase somewhat over the period. The Cohen’s kappa is 0.60 for the freedom of religion scores, 0.64 for the freedom of movement scores, 0.64 for the freedom of assembly/association scores, and 0.68 for the freedom of expression scores. In all cases, this is within the range of what Landis & Koch (1977) regard as good (substantial) agreement.

  7. On this point, we are inspired by Munck’s (2006) arguments about the need to establish scale scores, and particularly the end-points of scale scores, based on explicit theoretical distinctions.

  8. For example, the underlying coding scheme is merely a checklist that has undergone several changes over the years, and it does not specify the meaning of the different scores.

  9. Partly for this reason, the number of country-years covered by CIRI’s First Amendment-type indicators ranges between 4,748 and 5,363, while it is 6,035 for all the CLD indicators.

  10. It is, of course, also possible that much of the difference is due to problems with coder reliability and/or bias.

  11. For a similar use of the notion of sequencing, see Cingranelli and Richards (1999).

  12. Importantly, the DD-measure is not based on conceptual attributes denoting or empirical indicators measuring civil liberties. More on this later.

  13. The reason we include the years 1976–1978 in this analysis is that the sequencing should be the same over the entire period in all countries. Also, omitting these early years hardly alters the results.

  14. It drops to 0.59 if we replace the indicator on domestic movement with that on foreign movement.

  15. The index is based on eight indicators: (1) industrialization (output of non-agricultural sector/GDP), (2) education (gross secondary school enrollment ratio, (3) urbanization (urban percentage of total population), (4) life expectancy at birth (in years), (5) the inverse of infant mortality rate (per 1,000 life births), (6) the log of GDP/cap. (current US dollars), (7) radios/cap., (8) televisions/cap., and (9) newspaper circulation/cap. The index values are computed by taking the factor scores “and then using imputation on the regression line with all nine indicators as regressors” (Teorell 2010: 164–165).

  16. According to Schuur (2011: 95–96), one can treat Mokken scales as metric scales in statistical analyses.

  17. We are unable to include the Protestant and Muslim dummies into the fixed effects analyses due to a lack of diachronic variation in these variables.

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Møller, J., Skaaning, SE. Respect for Civil Liberties During the Third Wave of Democratization: Presenting a New Dataset. Soc Indic Res 117, 1069–1087 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-013-0391-y

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Keywords

  • Civil liberties
  • Dataset
  • Measurement validity
  • Developments
  • Sequencing
  • Correlates