Democracy by the Numbers


How is democracy doing around the world? This course will help students to answer this question and ask their own questions about political systems by examining a variety of quantitative measures of facets of democracy in the U.S. and internationally. We consider general indices as well as those that focus on specific normatively-appealing aspects—the absence of fraud in and broader integrity of the electoral process itself, the guarantees of fundamental human rights to all, governments’ effectiveness and accountability to the public, the equity of both representation and policy outcomes for minority groups and those historically disadvantaged or excluded, and the possibility and extent of civic engagement in non-government institutions. Wherever possible, the course will present evidence about the kinds of institutions and policies that seem to bolster democracy. Students can expect to gain hands-on experience with publicly-available subnational and national indicators of electoral and democratic quality.

Please visit the Office of the Registrar for more information about this course.