Research topics on government types and issues outside the U.S.

How much could the human condition improve if we only understood each other better? The study of different types of governments could be a good start to increasing our understanding of our foreign neighbors. Government issues such as income inequality and the minimum wage, national debt and climate change affect us all.

A collection of 195 national flags representing many different government types. (Credit: ACME Squares)

A collection of 195 national flags representing many different government types. (Credit: ACME Squares)

How do different governments handle these issues? If you have an interest in broadening your understanding of other countries let’s look at some research paper topics and resources to help you craft your next paper on foreign governments.

United States government

Your study of different types of governments is bound to be based on a comparison with your own United States government. A good place to start your research is at Questia where you’ll find millions of full-text books and articles covering topics such as geopolitics, political psychology and the governments in other countries.

You may want to begin your investigation of other types of governments with the book, Democratization: A Comparative Analysis of 170 Countries, by Tatu Vanhanen. In this book, Vanhanen examined the relationship between resource distribution and democratization in a group of 170 countries. He examined data ranging from the 1850s to present day.

For example, the subject of income inequality, which has been featured so prominently in the U.S., is also an issue in other democratic countries. Citing the research of Edward N. Muller, Vanhanen discussed the relationship between income inequality and the level of democracy in a country.

According to Vanhanen, “Muller stresses on the basis of his analysis that economic development and income inequality are the most important economic determinants of democracy, although he admits that there are also potentially relevant non-economic variables which should be taken into account. “

Types of governments

The United States is a democracy but you’ll find that other countries are organized differently. If you’re looking for research paper topics about government issues, you might want to investigate how other governments are organized.

Other types of governments include:

  • Republic: similar to a democracy, representatives are elected by the people
  • Monarchy: ruled by a king, queen or emperor; power is passed by hereditary right; there are no monarchies in existence today
  • Dictatorship: rule by one person or a group of people; includes Castro in Cuba; some dictatorships refer to themselves as a republic or a democratic republic

For a complete list of types of governments and a list by country, check out the CIA World Factbook.

How governments handle the issues

Another approach to a research paper on governments around the world could examine a list of relevant issues and how different governments deal with those issues.

In a November 29, 2012, article for Forbes.com, “The World’s 10 Most Responsible Governments,” Kenneth Rapoza described the results of the World Justice Project’s annual review of 90 different nations in terms of the rule of law index.

The index gathers data on how government affects the daily lives of ordinary people using dimensions of the rule of law that include:

  • Open government
  • Criminal justice
  • Civil justice
  • Absence of corruption

Each dimension is broken down into sub-factors and scored based on assessments of 1,000 respondents per country.

Which countries ranked best in 2012 for adherence to the rule of law? The top five countries were:

1.  Denmark

2.  Sweden

3.  Norway

4.  Finland

5.  Australia

“A look at the top 10 most open and accountable governments in the world as ranked in the Rule of Law index by the World Justice Project of Washington DC. These nations may not be nirvana. They’ve got plenty of social and political problems. But in the grand scheme of things, they are the best of the not-so-great-afteralls that we have on God’s green Earth,” Rapoza said.

Research paper resources

Other resources to help you complete a paper on government issues around the world include:

  • Library of Congress: The Guide to Law Online by nation has links to information for each country
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC.org): Doing Business section of this site offers economic data from 2003 to the present for several countries including cross comparisons

Do you think it’s important to study the workings of governments outside of the U.S.? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

You can learn more about politics and comparative government on Questia.

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