By John McCormick
COMPARATIVE POLITICS IN TRANSITION, 6th version, combines a thematic framework with a country-by-country method of supply a very considerate and powerful advent to Comparative Politics.
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A newer comparative ranking of democracy is offered by the weekly news magazine The Economist, which has a Democracy Index based on 60 different indicators grouped into five categories: electoral processes, protection for civil liberties, the efficient functioning of government, patterns of political participation, and the strength and depth of political culture. It gives every country a score out of 10, and concludes that although about half the world’s states can be considered democracies, only 28 can be considered “full democracies,” with scores of 8 and above.
The First World has always attracted more study, partly because most political scientists come from the First World and partly because its features are more consistent, making it easier to study. The authors of most comparative politics textbooks usually devote as much as half their space to First World case studies, despite the fact that First World countries account for just 16 percent of the world’s population, whereas Third World countries account for 55 percent of the population (or 76 percent if China is included).
A final useful comparative scale, which is as much a measure of failure as of success, is the Corruption Perception Index developed by another nonprofit, Transparency International. Published annually since 1995, it is based on information gathered from business, banks, foundations, and other independent institutions. It deals with only one part of the process of government and, as the title suggests, is as much about perception as about objective reality. org. Numbers at the end of each bar indicate ranking.