Democracy and Human Rights
Conceptualization and Measurement of Democracy
Project Leader: Håvard Hegre, University of Oslo
FRISAM Project, funded by the Research Council of Norway
Starting mid-2011, this Oslo-based project will focus on identifying underlying components of democracy and specific institutions within these components. Sabine Carey participates in this project, which seeks to increase theoretical and empirical precision by 1) radically disaggregate the democracy concept, 2) collect information on sub-components, and employ either 3) the sub-components themselves or 4) some theoretically informed aggregation of them in studies of the relationship between democracy and its potential outcomes. More details will be available on the Project Leader’s website.
Application and interpretation of multiple systems estimation methods in human rights research
Anita Gohdes, Daniel Manrique-Vallier and Megan Price. Presented at the Joint Statistical Meetings 2011, July 30 – August 4, 2011, Miami Beach, Florida.
Multiple systems estimation (MSE) methods are often introduced with the classic two-system estimator, using a motivating example from ecology. This estimator relies on four strong assumptions, which are typically then explored and adjusted for with the generalization to three or more systems and a variety of MSE methods and estimators. We find that the implications of violating these four classic assumptions, in particular the homogeneity and independence assumptions, do not translate clearly to the more-than-three-systems case. We use case studies from human rights research to present the subtle ways that misunderstanding these assumptions can lead to misapplication and misinterpretation of MSE methods. Additionally, we examine how MSE methods rely on patterns of inclusion or capture to represent the underlying population of interest even when the individual samples themselves are not representative.
Maiming the Movement: The effect of violence on Peruvian electoral politics
Anita Gohdes and Johanna K. Birnir. Presented at Conference on improving analysis of political violence through collaboration with human rights organizations, Kroc Institute, University of Notre Dame, 6-8 July, 2011.
This paper is interested in the effect of violence on electoral outcomes in countries that are affected by armed internal conflicts. We argue that one testable political implication is that where the government controls territory, parties perceived to be associated with the rebel group are systematically punished in areas where the rebels perpetrate the worst violence against the civilian population. We test our hypothesis for the case of Peru, using official electoral data from every area that was government controlled. In order to address the bigger challenge of obtaining reliable data on violent incidents we make use of three independent datasets that are combined with capture-recapture techniques to estimate more reliable numbers of those killed and disappeared in the twenty-year long conflict.
Relativizing human rights: A new system for country ranking
Forthcoming. Todd Landman, David Kernohan and Anita Gohdes ‘Relativizing Human Rights’, Journal of Human Rights.
Research, policy analysis and conditional aid policy among some donor countries rely on standards-based measures of country human rights performance. These measures code annual performance based on narrative reports published by the US State Department and Amnesty International. The coding yields a performance ranking for countries that in our view is ‘absolute’ or reflects that current state of human rights performance without taking into account the relative social, political or economic conditions within countries. While this absolute ranking is useful for empirical analyses of some human rights questions and policy applications, it can lead to perverse outcomes in other areas of work. This article provides an alternative method for ranking country human rights performance that takes into account an array of additional variables that are related to the protection of civil and political rights. The method involves three stages. Stage one applies principal component factor analysis to five different standards-based measures of civil and political rights to extract a single human rights ‘factor score’. Stage two regresses the factor score on a series of explanatory variables for the protection of civil and political rights for which there is widespread consensus and then saves the residual as an indicator of the ‘over’ or ‘under’ performance of countries with respect to the protection of those rights. Stage three plots the ‘factor score’ alongside the relative score to compare these different measures of human rights performance over time and across different regions. Our results lead to a new depiction of human rights progress in the world that we believe will be of interest to human rights scholars and practitioners.
Principals, agents, and atrocities: Multiple systems estimation and the case of Peru’
Todd Landman and Anita Gohdes. Presented at the Conference on casualty recording and estimation in times of conflict, Carnegie Mellon University & University of Pittsburgh, 23-25 October 2009
Using data on over 24,000 deaths and disappearances recorded by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Peru for the conflict between 1980 and 2000, this paper applies a principal-agent model found in Neil Mitchell’s (2004) Agents of Atrocity to explain and understand the dynamics of the conflict, which involved two revolutionary movements, three successive democratically elected presidents, and a period of authoritarian rule. The analysis shows that the model builds on existing theories of state repression and conflict and can move beyond its original cases in providing new insights into the patterns of large-scale human rights violations during periods of conflict. For recorded deaths and disappearances, the model explains the differences in atrocities committed by the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and Túpac Amaru revolutionary movements, but accounts less well for the level of atrocities committed by state agents during the two democratic governments of Belaúnde Terry and Alan García, as well as across the democratic and non-democratic Fujimori years. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of this crucial case study for theories of atrocity, state repression, and the analysis of large-scale human rights violations during periods of conflict.
- A video about Syria paper by Adam Scharpf
- Important information about submission of BA dissertation
- Paulina Pospieszna attending Tempus Project Workshop in Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Hannah Smidt admitted to a PhD program at UCL
- Sabine Carey appointed to the ISA Professional Development Committee
- Sabine Carey Associate Editor of International Interactions
- We have grown
- New Publication by Adam Scharpf
- Anita Gohdes working on calculating conflict-related deaths in Syria
- Mascha Rauschenbach presenting research on negative campaigning at the ECPR Joint Sessions in Mainz