2003 Award for Conceptual Innovation in Democratic Studies

Winners: Gerardo L. Munck & Jay Verkuilen 

The first C&M Award for Conceptual Innovation in Democratic Studies was awarded to Gerardo L. Munck and Jay Verkuilen for their article “Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy: Evaluating Alternative Indices,” Comparative Political Studies, Vol. 35, No. 1, February 2002, pp. 5-34.

The article was chosen from an exceptionally strong set of top-quality submissions. The Committee on Concepts and Methods thanks all authors, colleagues, and publishers who submitted their own work, the work of their peers, or their authors' work to the committee.

The award, set at 1.500 USD, was sponsored by the IPSA Committee on Concepts and Methods (C&M) and the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Mexico City.

Award Citation

“The jury chose the article ‘Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy: Evaluating Alternative Indices’ by Gerardo L. Munck and Jay Verkuilen, published in Comparative Political Studies 35/1 (February 2002) for the award out of a very strong field of submissions. This article makes a contribution in the fields of conceptualization AND measurement, and it provides an important service to the scholarly community involved in the study of democracy because it analyzes the conceptualization, measurement, and aggregation rules followed by the authors of the most frequently used indices of democracy. Given that quantitative studies of democracy and democratization have become a growth industry, it is crucial that scholars be aware of the comparative strengths and weaknesses of the various indices available for their analyses. The article goes beyond an evaluation of existing indices by offering a comprehensive framework for the generation of data and thus elucidating one of the crucial components of research aimed at causal inference. Finally, it makes useful suggestions for improving the quality of data on democracy.”

The Jury

  • Terry Karl, Stanford University (Chair)
  • Evelyne Huber, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Axel Hadenius, University of Uppsala.
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