The Empirical Macro-Model: How to Measure Democracy and the Quality of Democracy in Global Comparison

  • David F. J. Campbell
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Democracy, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship for Growth book series (DIG)


The one established standard for democracy research is to refer democracy to the three dimensions of freedom, equality, and control (see, e.g., Lauth 2004). For the purpose of applying an underlying conceptual (and theoretical) model for the empirical measurement of democracies worldwide, the decision was to create and to opt for a quintuple-dimensional structure of democracy (“basic quintuple-dimensional structure of democracy and quality of democracy”) that identifies five basic dimensions (basic conceptual dimensions). The three dimensions of freedom, equality, and control are extended by the dimensions of “sustainable development” (Quadruple Structure) and “self-organization” or “political self-organization” (Quintuple Structure). Government/opposition cycles and political swings (political left/right swings) represent a crucial manifestation of political self-organization. Therefore, the proposition is that government/opposition cycles (political swings) constitute an essential component for democracies and how they operate and perform and progress. Government/opposition cycles and political swings are the key to quality of democracy. Because the resulting indices are multi-dimensional, not the idea of a creation of a single ranking of democracies or of the quality of democracy is being advocated. What may result would be a diversity of rankings, competing with each other for the opportunity of different and diverging interpretations, by this fostering analytical pluralism. This notion of indices or index-building offers additional reference points for helping to read and to interpret results and effects of assigning indicator-based countries (democracies, semi-democracies, and non-democracies) to dimensions and sub-dimensions.


Basic Quintuple-Dimensional structure of democracy and quality of democracy Control Equality Freedom Government/opposition cycles Multi-Dimensional Index-Building Political Self-Organization Political swings Sustainable development 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David F. J. Campbell
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department for Continuing Education Research and Educational Management, Center for Educational Management and Higher Education DevelopmentDanube University KremsKrems an der DonauAustria
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.University of Applied Arts ViennaViennaAustria
  4. 4.Faculty for Interdisciplinary Studies (iff), Department of Science Communication and Higher Education Research (WIHO)Alpen-Adria-Universität KlagenfurtViennaAustria

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