I -C A #6

GOVT 2302
Between 1988 and 1992, historic changes swept the world. What were, not so
long ago, believed to be entrenched Communist regimes in Eastern Europe have
withered. In Poland, Czechoslovakia,1 Romania, Bulgaria, and other former
Warsaw Pact countries, totalitarian Communist Party domination has been
replaced by fledgling multi-party systems. Even the Soviet Union itself, which
less than ten years ago was considered to be one of the world’s two
superpowers, has been replaced by a loose confederation of struggling
What have these changes meant for the cause of human rights around the
world? For much of the 20th century, liberalized, democratized Westerners
assumed that communism was the primary impediment to human rights. Today,
however, even with the fall of European communism, the world’s population
enjoys only marginally higher levels of human rights and freedom.2
RIGHTS THAN PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES? It may be possible to suggest an
answer to this question by systematically examining data on other variables that
we believe to be related to a country’s human rights rating.
Examine the accompanying table (Table 1) carefully. The human rights ratings
developed for 100 countries by Charles Humana are given in the column labeled
“HR.” These ratings, which potentially range from 0 - 100, were developed by
Humana in a comprehensive study in which he calculated an indexed score for
each country based on a forty-item checklist. The checklist was broken down
into five categories: (1) freedom to (i.e., travel in own country, peaceably
assemble and associate, teach or advocate ideas and information); (2) freedom
from (i.e., serfdom, slavery, forced or child labor, capital punishment by the state,
political censorship of the press); (3) freedom for or rights to (i.e., elections by a
secret and universal ballot, social and economic equality for women and ethnic
minorities); (4) legal rights (i.e., to be considered innocent until proven guilty, to
be free from warrantless police searches of home and arbitrary seizure of private
Czechoslovakia has subsequently divided into two separate nations: the Czech
Republic and Slovakia.
According to Charles Humana (WORLD HUMAN RIGHTS GUIDE, 1992), the
average national human rights rating increased from 55% in 1986 to 62% in
property by the state); (5) personal rights (i.e., to interracial, interreligious, or civil
marriages, to practice any religion, to non-interference by the state in strictly
private matters) (Humana, 1992: 3-10). Note in looking at Table 1 that the actual
range of human rights ratings for the 100 countries is quite great, from a low of
17 in Iraq and Myanmar to a high of 99 in Finland. VERY IMPORTANT: In this
assignment, assume that HR is the dependent variable.
Table 1 also includes data on an independent variable:
Human development index; developed by the United Nations
Development Program (1990). The index is computed by a formula
that includes a number of factors: literacy, infant mortality, and
deprivation of life expectancy, and gross domestic product per capita,
among others, and is expressed as a ratio on a scale of zero to one
(0 - 1.0). Highest among the 100 nations is Japan (0.996) and lowest
is Afghanistan (0.212).
1. Think about the data in Table 1. Assume that you were the researcher that
gathered these data. What general question guided you to select these
variables for inclusion in your study? [You are, in essence, working
backwards. Ordinarily, a researcher would have a question first, then gather
data to help answer the question. However, in this assignment the data is
already gathered. In other words, what question would these data help you
answer? [HINT: If you reread the above section carefully, you may not have
to think so hard on this one!] Write your question legibly below.
2. Look again at Table 1. Write (legibly) a hypothesis below which explains the
relationship between the two variables: HR and HDI.
3. On the attached graphing paper, plot the points which represent the HR and
HDI for the following countries: Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, Brazil,
Jamaica, Bolivia, India, Hungary, Uganda, Malaysia, Poland, Algeria, Ghana,
Libya, Zimbabwe, Iraq, Syria, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, the United States,
Israel, Venezuela, Honduras, South Korea, Turkey, Jordan, Panama, Zambia,
Iran, South Africa, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Mozambique. [These 33
countries are selected to eliminate the tedium of plotting points and to avoid
clutter. The instructor assumes that if you can successfully plot these 33
points you could, if asked, successfully plot all 100.]
A scatterplot is a technique used to “test” a hypothesis by ocular examination
of plotted points. Actually, you have generated scatterplots before. You may
recall plotting points on Cartesian coordinates in a high school math class. In
that class, you were taught that the vertical axis was called Y and the
horizontal axis was called X. The grid that is formed by the intersection of
these axes is called an XY plane. In this assignment, each “dot” (plotted
point) that you place on your XY plane will represent a particular country. For
any given country, then, tracing a horizontal line to intersect the Y-axis will
indicate its human rights rating. Likewise, tracing a vertical line down to the Xaxis will give you its human development index.
4. The plotted points in a scatterplot such as the one you’ve just completed may
or may not produce a pattern. Sometimes the pattern is very clear; other
times it is less so. Examine your scatterplot. Do the plotted points suggest
support for the hypothesis you wrote in item #2? Answering “yes” or “no” is
insufficient. You must explain your answer. Write your answer legibly below.