Measuring and Classifying Democracy 5


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Measuringand Classifying Democracy in Brazil

Thecountry under focus is Brazil. Other countries that would be comparedin the same table are China, and the United Kingdom. The choice ofthese countries is based on the fact they are economic giants intheir respective continents. Their democracy has a long history oftransformations that led to the existing institutional structuresthat exist in these countries today. Another justification for thischoice is that both countries represent different levels ofdemocratization, from very democratic, democratic and progressing,and far from being democratic in no particular order until theanalysis below is complete.

PACL,Polity IV, and Freedom House in 2002

Measurement approach



The United Kingdom





Polity IV




Freedom House





Braziland the United Kingdom are coded 1 in 2002. The code 1 also impliesthe governments of both countries in 2002 were subject to assemblyconfidence (BEETHA 1994:56). Collective assembly is theresponsibility of the cabinet a top executive institution whoseactions and reputation depends on the individual behavior of eachmember of the cabinet. The United Kingdom does have a writtenconstitution, but in 1946, the entire government was successfullyremoved by a vote of confidence from parliament. Conversely, Chinahas coded 0. China’s regime in 2002 was not democratically elected. The government actually constitutes the top officials of theCommunist Party.

PolityIV Measurement

Ascore of 10 represents countries that have a full democracy (Brown2011:167). A score ranging from 6 to 9 represent a democracy thathas not attained the status of a full democracy. A score of 1 to 5represents an open anocracy. Values 14 to 0 represent a closedanocracy. Values between -10 to -6 represent an autocracy. Any othervalue outside this range represents a failed or occupied state. Thus,Brazil is a democracy. However, compared with the United Kingdom,which is a full democracy, Brazil still has institute severalinstitutional changes that would lead it to a full democracy. China,on the hand, is an autocracy.

Thefreedom House measure

Thefreedom house measurement of the democratness of a country has ascore range of 1-7. A score of 1 represents the best institutionalframework with score on civil liberties, political rights, andfreedom rating. A score of 7 represent a country without democraticspace. As indicated in the table above, the Kingdom has an averagescore of 1, followed by Brazil with an average score of 3, and Chinacompletes the ranking with an average score of 6.5.

Thethree countries have a diverse democratic history. Brazil underwent atransition to democracy in 2002. A democratically elected governmentof President Luiz Da silva began a new era of democratic transitions.The United Kingdom has been a full parliamentary democracy thatenjoys smooth transitions based on the parliamentary majority of apolitical party of coalition of parties. China may have opted tousher in younger leadership in 2002, but it has a low rating ondemocracy due to the absence of political pluralism and the tightgrip of China’s Communist Party to power since the end of the 1949civil war.

Thefreedom house is the best measure of democracy among the three asexplained below:

Theconcept: it uses three varied concepts of freedom rating, civilliberties, and political rights to measure democracy. They arefundamental pillars of a democratic system.

Reliability:The criterion is based on the historical improvements that eachcountry underwent towards democracy.

Validity:It uses evidential ratings of political events such as electionoutcomes, incidences of intolerance, and the existence of workingpolitical parties.

Replicability:The freedom house criterion is applicable to all countries of theworld.


Beetham,D 1994, Definingand measuring democracy.Sage Publications: London

Brown,N. J. (Ed.). (2011). Thedynamics of democratization: dictatorship, development, anddiffusion.JHU Press.