Thursday, December 15, 2011

Measuring Strength of Oppositions

Imagine you are constructing a model of color revolutions and "strength of opposition" is one of the variables you need to reliably measure. How to do that?

 Of course by opposition here we mean not act of opposing something, but rather institutionalized groups that act in opposition to incumbent governments. In this sense it is both opposition as minority in legislative or opposition that is beyond the legal field - e.g. pro-democracy groups in exile, religious or neo Marxist groups etc.

 One of the ways of course, the easiest one would be to look at how much vote they ripped off from the government or the level of approval through polls and surveys. However, most of the political setting do not render that a promising exercise. What is essentially left is constructing a compositve variable which would incorporate different aspects of opposition politics that can be reliably observed at the distance. What immediately comes to mind is a composite index consisting of questions as "Have they ever been in power?" "Are they outlawed or are within legal field?" "Are they institutionalized as a political party?" etc. as well as questions about their ideological standing and appeal to public etc.

 My quick googling of political science literature did not bring any tangible results. It seems that there is no "opposition strenght index" as such. I think fragments of this index can be found in other indices, e.g. Polity IV or Freedom House, but a more general and comprehensive index has yet to be constructed.

 I also gave a quick look at the classics of the discipline. It seems that Shapiro, Dahl, Kirchheimer have devoted some attention to the issue, clarified conceptualization, attempted categorization and some causal relationships and trends, but can't say I really saw them measuring something.

 Meanwhile, badly need it to run a quantitative model of color revolutions

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