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V-Dem Seminar with Sebastian Ziaja

Research profile seminar

At the V-Dem Seminar Sebastian Ziaja will present the paper "Method factors in democracy indicators".


This paper conducts an analysis of method factors in democracy indicators. It updates and expands Kenneth Bollen´s 1993 study "Validity and Method Factors in Cross-National Measures". Employing three different concepts of democracy that assume two, three and four dimensions, respectively, we analyze sixteen indicators from four prominent sources for democracy indicators: the Economist Intelligence Unit, Polity IV, Freedom House and the Varieties of Democracy project (V-Dem). Our data covers the years 1972-2014. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) allows us assess whether and how indicators systematically differ across sources. Preliminary results suggest that while method factor is substantial for individual indicators, no particular source underperforms notably. Nonetheless, producers of democracy indicators are advised to consider unexpected deviations and thus work towards minimizing source bias.


Sebastian Ziaja is post-doctoral researcher at Heidelberg University and affiliated to the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE). He obtained his PhD from the University of Essex, studying the effects of democracy aid on democratization and political instability. He has also worked on conceptualizing and measuring state fragility. His current work focuses on measuring state capacity and deriving political regime types from empirical constellations of institutional traits.

Date: 9/13/2017

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Categories: Research

Organizer: Department of Political Science

Location: B225

Contact person: Natalia Stepanova

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