Information Effects and Human Rights Data: Is the Good News about Increased Human Rights Information Bad News for Human Rights Measures?
- Human Rights Quarterly
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 35, Number 3, August 2013
- pp. 539-568
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Changes in quality and availability of information related to human rights violations raise questions about how best to use existing data to assess human rights change. Information effects are discernible both in primary sources of information and data coded by two prominent human rights datasets, the Political Terror Scale (PTS) and the Cingranelli-Richards Human Rights Data Set (CIRI). The authors discuss ways that human rights information has changed for the better, evaluate the scales and their primary text sources for countries in Latin America, and compare them with information drawn from regional truth commission data. Extra caution is advised when using summary data to make inferences about human rights change.