Gerardo L. Munck

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Gerardo L. Munck
Born (1958-10-13) October 13, 1958 (age 61)
Alma materUniversity of California, San Diego
Scientific career
InfluencesMario Bunge · Hans Kelsen · Norberto Bobbio · Giovanni Sartori · Robert Dahl · Juan Linz · Guillermo O'Donnell · Adam Przeworski · David Collier

Gerardo Munck (born October 13, 1958), Argentine by birth, is a professor of international relations and political science, in the School of International Relations of the University of Southern California (USC). His brother, Ronaldo Munck, is a well-known sociologist, living in Ireland. His grandmother was the Argentine record-setting marathon swimmer Lilian Harrison.


Munck earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire, a Master's in Latin American Studies at Stanford University, and his PhD in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).[1]

Academic Research[edit]

Munck works in the field of comparative politics and is a specialist on political regimes and democracy, methodology (with an emphasis on measurement), and politics in Latin America.

He also does research on the intellectual history of the field of comparative politics and on the conditions for the production of knowledge about the social world.

Methodology of Measurement[edit]

Munck proposes a comprehensive framework for the construction and assessment of data on political concepts that distinguished between three tasks: conceptualization, measurement, and aggregation. Furthermore, consistent with Giovanni Sartori’s work on concepts, Munck emphasizes the need (1) to form a concept before seeking to measure it and, relatedly, (2) to theorize the relationship among conceptual properties and hence highlight how conceptual attributes are always parts of conceptual systems rather than treat them by default as unrelated and hence adequately represented by an additive model.[2]

The Concept of Democracy[edit]

In his work on the concept of democracy, Munck has argued against the common tendency to propose a concept of democracy that simply incorporates features of the political systems of countries in the West considered to be exemplars of democracy. In turn, he has advocated a broadening of the concept of democracy beyond the strict electoral sphere. In addition to being a system that has inclusive, clean and competitive elections for key national offices of government, democracy extends to two additional spheres: (1) Democracy extends to the domain of government decision-making and requires political institutions that allow a majority of citizens to change the status quo; and (2) democracy extends to the social environment of politics and requires a social context that does not turn the principles of political freedom and equality into mere formalities.[3]

Public Activity[edit]

Munck is active in various public initiatives in the fields of democratic governance and of transparency and accountability.

He collaborated with Dante Caputo and Guillermo O'Donnell in the preparation of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) report Democracy in Latin America. Toward a Citizens’ Democracy (2004).[4] He developed a methodology to monitor elections for the Organization of American States (OAS).[5] And he worked with Dante Caputo on a second regional report on democracy in Latin America prepared by the UNDP and the Organization of American States (OAS), Nuestra democracia (2010).[6]

He also worked with the UNDP on a system to monitor corruption in Afghanistan,[7] and wrote background papers for the UNDP regional reports on Asia and the Pacific on corruption and gender equality.[8]

He was a member of the International Expert Panel of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) during 2013-2016.



  • La calidad de la democracia: Perspectivas desde América Latina (Quito, Ecuador: CELAEP and Fundación Hans Seidel, 2013); Co-editor with Sebastián Mantilla Baca. [10]
  • Measuring Democracy. A Bridge between Scholarship and Politics (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009)
  • Regimes and Democracy in Latin America (Oxford University Press, 2007)
  • Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics (with Richard Snyder; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)
  • Authoritarianism and Democratization. Soldiers and Workers in Argentina, 1976-83 (Penn State University Press, 1998)

Select Articles

"What is Democracy? A Reconceptualization of the Quality of Democracy." Democratization, 23, 1 (2016): 1-26. [11]

"Building Democracy … Which Democracy? Ideology and Models of Democracy in Post-Transition Latin America." Government and Opposition, 50, 3 (2015): 364-93. [12]

"State or Democracy First? Alternative Perspectives on the State-Democracy Nexus," with Sebastián L. Mazzuca. Democratization 21, 7 (2014): 1221-43. [13]

"Democratic Politics in Latin America: New Debates and Research Frontiers." Annual Review of Political Science 7 (2004): 437-62. [14]

"Tools for Qualitative Research" pp. 105–21, in Henry E. Brady and David Collier (eds.), Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards (Boulder, Col. and Berkeley, Cal.: Rowman & Littlefield and Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2004).

"Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy: Evaluating Alternative Indices," with Jay Verkuilen. Comparative Political Studies 35, 1 (2002): 5-34. [15]

"The Regime Question: Theory Building in Democracy Studies." World Politics 54, 1 (2001): 119-44. [16]

"Game Theory and Comparative Politics: New Perspectives and Old Concerns." World Politics 53, 2 (2001): 173-204. [17]

“Regimes and Democracy in Latin America,” with David Collier. Special Issue of Studies in Comparative International Development 36, 1 (2001): 3–141. [18]

"Modes of Transition and Democratization. South America and Eastern Europe in Comparative Perspective," with Carol Leff. Comparative Politics 29, 3 (1997): 343-62. [19]

"Disaggregating Political Regime: Conceptual Issues in the Study of Democratization." Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies Working Paper 228 (1996). [20]


  1. ^ Munck CV. [1].
  2. ^ Gerardo L. Munck and Jay Verkuilen, “Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy: Evaluating Alternative Indices,” Comparative Political Studies 35, 1 (2002): 5-34 [2] ; Gerardo L. Munck , Measuring Democracy: A Bridge Between Scholarship and Politics (Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009).
  3. ^ Gerardo L. Munck, “The Study of Politics and Democracy: Touchstones of a Research Agenda,” pp. 25-37, in Gerardo L. Munck (ed.), Regimes and Democracy in Latin America. Theories and Methods (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Gerardo L. Munck, “What is Democracy? A Reconceptualization of the Quality of Democracy,” Democratization 23, 1 (2016): 1-26. [3]
  4. ^ United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Democracy in Latin America. Toward a Citizens’ Democracy (New York and Buenos Aires: UNDP and Aguilar, Altea, Taurus, Alfaguara, 2004). [4].
  5. ^ Methods for Election Observation: A Manual for OAS Election Observation Missions (Washington, D.C.: Organization of American States, October 2007). [5].
  6. ^ OAS (Organization of American States) and UNDP, Nuestra Democracia (México: OAS, UNDP and Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2010). Spanish version: [6]; english version: [7].
  7. ^ Angela Hawken and Gerardo L. Munck, “A Corruption Monitoring System for Afghanistan,” UNDP Accountability and Transparency (ACT) project, Kabul, Afghanistan, July 2008.
  8. ^ See, respectively, UNDP Asia Pacific Human Development Report, Tackling Corruption, Transforming Lives (2008) [8] and UNDP Asia Pacific Human Development Report, Power, Voice and Rights: A Turning Point for Gender Equality in Asia and the Pacific (2010). [9].

External links[edit]