Index of Democratic Political Stability: Methodological Note

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Comparative Political Studies


The democracies of the world present a varied picture of differing structural forms and attributes. One such attribute is the concept of "political stability" and this paper is concerned with a discussion and analysis of the "stability" performance of selected democratic polities. A study of stability has relevance and importance for several reasons. It may help in understanding how and why some democracies have been able to remain viable and successful-able to adapt to a changing environment without losing essential forms and patterns-and why other countries have been less fortunate in coping with the exigencies of change. This adaption to the environment, this change without alienation, is perhaps the most relevant concept in politics today and it is readily apparent that several countries are not currently achieving this end. The young especially are estranged from the democratic process and the continuance of specific systems may be open to question. A study of political stability, then, will identify the location of this dissatisfaction-this failure of the democratic system to adapt-how it is manifested, and, perhaps, an explanation of its existence.

Original Citation

Leon Hurwitz. (1971). Index of Democratic Political Stability: Methodological Note. Comparative Political Studies, 4, 1, 41-68.