Democratic governance assessments have the potential of enhancing accountability, but only if assessment results are actively used by governments and civil society in policymaking. This implies that both the supply of and demand for governance data in policymaking need to be strengthened.
A mapping of supply and demand of governance evidence forms a useful starting point for strategizing on how the democratic governance assessment may best enhance accountability. A mapping should detail data needs, identify how data use can be improved, and identify users who would strategically benefit, the extent to which policymakers use governance evidence, and constraints and opportunities for strengthening evidence-based policymaking.
Mapping demand and supply of governance evidence can be done through placing a country in one of four categories:
3.Countries affected by vicious cycles
4.Countries affected by virtuous cycles (see chart below).
In data supply-constrained countries (upper-left corner), data producers are unable to fully meet the demand for governance evidence. Demand for data may stem from governments' need to reform, plan, design policies, or monitor and evaluate national development plans or sectoral policies. Demand also may stem from civil society, political parties, unions, research institutions and citizens who would like better evidence with which to advocate and hold government to account. In these scenarios, raising capacity and increasing the supply of governance evidence in accordance with demand should be key priorities of governance assessments programmes.
Demand also may come from external actors, such as donors, who may be interested in better governance evidence in order to target country support, select modalities of support and assess development results. In response, countries may have an interest in country-led governance evidence to better negotiate with donors on governance issues, global governance indicators and comparative rankings. In such cases it will be important to develop capacity in order to strengthen country-led supply of governance evidence. It also will be important to strengthen the use and relevance of data to citizens. Ideally, citizens -- not donors -- should hold governments to account, and it is important for the programme to be sustainable in strengthening domestic accountability.
In demand-constrained countries (lower-right corner), the situation is opposite: Supply of governance evidence surpasses demand. Here strategies for strengthening demand are more appropriate. Strengthening demand can be achieved by providing a mapping of existing governance indicators to raise awareness (insert hyperlink), better communicate and disseminate existing governance data (insert hyperlink), strengthen the use of indicators in policymaking (insert hyperlink) and foster a culture of evidence-based policymaking (insert hyperlink).
Some countries are in a vicious-circle state (lower-left corner), where poor supply often lowers expectations and thereby demand for governance evidence. In turn, low demand reduces political interest in improving statistical capacity. A vicious circle may be cemented by governance factors such as low press freedom, few mechanisms of accountability, and a centralized production of statistics dominated by government interests. Demand may exist, but remains immobilized. In these countries, both strategies of supply and demand need to be embarked upon.
In contrast, other countries have achieved a virtuous circle (upper-right corner). In these countries, political interest and high demand for governance evidence lead to the allocation of more resources for raising statistical capacity. In turn, good statistical research, good-quality analysis and high quantity of data attract political interest and fuel more demand. In this situation, a democratic governance assessment should seek to further enhance the mutually reinforcing mechanisms of demand and supply.
 Adapted from Scott, Christopher, Measuring Up to the Measurement Problem: The Role of Statistics in Evidence-Based Policymaking, Paris 21: Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century. (2005).