Democracy and the Concept of Personal Integrity Rights

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Authors Daniel W. Hill
Journal/Conference Name THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract The right to personal integrity is the most frequently studied right in empirical research on human rights violations. One of the strongest findings in this body of research is that democracy, measured using a large number of quantitative indicators, reduces violations of personal integrity. I argue that this finding requires qualification and should be treated with caution. This is because the concepts of democracy and respect for personal integrity rights overlap to some extent. Specifically, violence meant to suppress opposition groups, which is considered a violation of personal integrity, overlaps with free political competition, which is usually considered a necessary component of democracy. This means that measures of the two concepts will necessarily be correlated. After demonstrating that the definitions of these concepts overlap, I present evidence that indicators of these concepts are correlated by construction. I conclude with suggestions for how this problem can be avoided in future research.
Date of publication 2016
Code Programming Language R

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