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Governance Ratings and Democratic Performance

C·A·P Working Paper by Dr. Martin Brusis, April 2005

Governance Ratings as useful tools to measure Democratic Performance in Central and Eastern Europe?
Paper presented at the Workshop "The Performance of Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe" (Ferdinand Müller-Rommel and Vello Pettai), ECPR Joint Sessions, Granada, 15-19 April 2005.

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03.05.2005 · Bertelsmann Forschungsgruppe Politik


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The paper discusses the utility of existing qualitative governance ratings for comparing the performance of democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. Four different indicators are compared: These are the "Governance Indicators" developed by the World Bank Institute, the "Nations in Transit" study by Freedom House, the "Progress in Transition" rating by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and a newly created rating of govern-ance performance, the "Bertelsmann Transformation Index" .

First, we argue that governance ratings can contribute to the study of democracy because they can enable us to explore the causal links between practices of policy-making on the one hand policy outcomes and input variables on the other. Then we compare how the four ratings con-ceptualize and measure governance. Finally, the rating results are compared for the region as a whole (27 countries) and for a subset of six countries, thus facilitating statistical validation as well as exemplary in-depth discussion of assessments. The main finding is that high aggre-gate correlations and a high share of equally rated countries indicate a high degree of validity, but also an insufficient level of specificity. That is, the ratings are not able to sufficiently identify specific features of governance which seems largely due to the lack of a well-established governance concept.


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