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Regular version of the site

Article

A Multidimensional Model for Analyzing Democratic Development in Central and Eastern Europe

Transition Studies Review. 2013. Vol. 20. No. 2. P. 191-209.
Obiedkov S., Mikhail Klimushkin, Shabanova M., Dmitry Zaytsev.

Various indices and ratings describing democratic processes in countries around the world have been developed by international organizations (such as Freedom House) and analytical centers (such as the one affiliated with the journal  Economist). The main drawback of such ratings is that they only provide a linear ordering of countries by averaging a multitude of criteria. Such approach does not make it obvious which particular problems exist in which countries and thus does not help comparing democratic processes in different countries. In this paper, we propose a multidimensional model for ratings based on the mathematical discipline of formal concept analysis, which deals, in particular, with automated taxonomy construction from object–attribute data. In our case, every node of a taxonomy would group countries similar in certain aspects, while at the same time providing a description of these aspects. The aim is not to question the existing ratings, but rather to provide a neutral instrument for uncovering the structure of the data underlying these ratings. The proposed representation is much more informative than linear ratings, since it shows the commonalities and differences in the democratic development of various countries. In addition, it provides a solid ground for discussing, comparing, and criticizing ratings. It can also help formulate theoretical hypotheses on the evolution of democracy, thereby advancing scientific discovery. We illustrate the proposed representation with the case study of countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.