Weekly Graphs

Varieties of Democracy is launching a new initiative: Graph of the Week!

Each week we will be posting a new and interesting graph to demonstrate the breadth of democracy indicators available to you. We currently have results available for 89 countries and growing! We would like to encourage users around the world to visit our website and use our Online Analysis Tools to interact and engage with the largest database of democracy measures!

Judicial and legislative constraints on the executive in Turkey

Turkey will hold a referendum on April 16 on eighteen proposed amendments to the Constitution. 

Sustainable Development Goal 16

The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.6 calls for effective, accountable and transparent institutions. 

Parliamentary Elections March

During the month of March, Netherlands, Ireland and Bulgaria are holding parliamentary elections. In the spirit of last week’s Women’s International Day this week’s graph examine parliamentary representation by women in these three countries since 1940.

8th of March - International Women’s Day!

The International Women’s Day takes place on March 8. In honor of this occasion we take a look at the new V-Dem Women’s Political Empowerment Index (find out more here) in different regions of the world. 

Corruption in Romania

In January, the Romanian government adopted a new bill that decriminalizes official misconduct for politicians and civil servants if a financial damage is less than 200000 LEI (45000 EUR). 

Equal distribution of resources index

The UN’s World Day of Social Justice takes place on February 20, 2017. 

Ecuador Clean Elections Index

On February 19, general elections will be held in Ecuador. 

Gambia Elections 2016 loser acceptance

The Gambian presidential elections, held this past December (https://www.v-dem.net/en/news/presidential-elections-gambia/​), brought a surprising result when 23-year President Yahya Jammeh lost to challenger Adam Barrow. 

Democracy in India

On January 26th, the world’s largest democracy (in terms of population) celebrates Republic Day, which honors the 1950 Constitution marking India’s transition to an independent and democratically governed republic. On this occasion, this week’s graph takes a look at the development of democracy in India. 

Social group equality in respect for civil liberties

Myanmar’s recent military operations in response to an attack on a police station by an émigré-led Rohingya insurgent group have become the target of international criticism. 

Executive Corruption in South Korea

In December, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye was impeached by the Parliament over a corruption scandal involving her informal advisor, Choi Soon-sil. 

Respect for the constitution in DRC

Over the New Year’s holiday, violent and deadly protests occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down with the expiration of his second consecutive term in office on December 20th 2016. 

International Migrants Day

The United Nations (UN) International Migrants Day is annually held on December 18 to recognize the efforts, contributions, and rights of migrants worldwide.

Freedom of Religion

With the holiday season upon us in many parts of the world, the graph of the week examines freedom of religion in four different regions in the world since 1900. 

Presidential Elections in Gambia

On December 1st, presidential elections in The Gambia brought unexpected political change. Opposition candidate Adama Barrow defeated Yahya Jammeh, who had been president for 22 years. 

Referendums in the Europe

In June, the United Kingdom held a referendum on whether to remain in the European Union (“Brexit”) and 52% of the votes were cast in favor of leaving EU. Last week, however, it was decided that the Brexit decision would need the backing of parliament. 

National Party Control in the United States

On November 8th the Republican candidate Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. 

Postponed Elections in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo

There are many places in the world where elections get delayed. This week’s graph examines two countries where elections planned for this year have been postponed: Haiti and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

US Presidential Election

The United States’ presidential election currently dominates the media in many parts of the world. 

Harassment of Journalists

November 2nd is the “International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.” Over the past decade over 800 journalists have been killed for reporting news and information, but only 7 percent of the cases have been resolved and only one in ten cases have been properly investigated. Because of impunity, governments get away with censorship by instilling fear in journalists. This week’s graph takes a closer look at V-Dem’s harassment of journalists’ variable by using the V-Dem online analysis graphing tool.

Equal Distribution of resources in Colombia

The 2016 Nobel peace prize was awarded to the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos "for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end".

The Drill-Down Feature

This week’s graph highlights the drill-down feature in the V-Dem Online Analysis tool. It allows us to take a closer look at the component variables that make up any higher order index in the dataset that interests you.  In other words you can drill down into the constituent data for each V-Dem index. 

Civil Society Movements and Corruption in Brazil

The Olympic and Paralympic games this summer has shined a spotlight on Brazil.  Political turmoil, including the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff and protests about Olympic spending and the displacement of Rio’s poor have figured prominently in the news. This week’s graph takes a look at the development of radical protests and corruption levels in Brazil.  We wanted to see if these two political developments have any relationship to each other.

Elections in October

There are several elections taking place this month. This week’s graph takes a closer look at the development of democracy in some of the countries where elections will occur. 

Percentage of Female Legislators

Female representation in national legislative bodies has increased steadily on a global level, yet we are still far away from equal representation. Currently there are only two countries in the world with 50 percent or more women in parliament in the single or lower house, namely Rwanda and Bolivia. 

Parliamentary elections in Jordan

It is not only in Russia that parliamentary elections have taken place this week; on 20 September 2016 general elections were held in Jordan. The 18th Lower House of Parliament, the House of Representatives (Majlis al-Nuwab), was elected.

Russian parliamentary election

Russia held a parliamentary election on 18th of September 2016. Four major parties were contending for seats in parliament, the State Duma. Voters’ access to information is crucial for a well-functioning democratic process: what is the situation for voters’ access to information in Russia? 

International Democracy Day!

September 15 is the International Democracy Day and V-Dem’s favorite day of the year. This year’s theme is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda takes an egalitarian approach and aims to fight inequalities and reduce poverty, as well as tackling climate change. 

Educational Equality

Across the Northern Hemisphere, September means the beginning of another school year. However, expectations or opportunities for education are not the same everywhere. Educational equality varies widely across the globe. 

Power distributed by sexual orientation

Over the summer, pride parades took place across the globe, celebrating the advancement of rights for members of the LGBT community. The past few years saw great advancements for the LGBT community, from marriage equality in the US to full adoption rights in some European countries such as Austria, Ireland, and Portugal.

EU Candidate Countries’ Liberal Democracy Index

Joining the European Union does not happen overnight; rather, it is a long and complicated process. 

Health equality in the US and Scandinavia

In the race to the US election, the main candidates differ greatly on numerous issues, healthcare being one of them. 

International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day - a day to acknowledge women’s rights and turn our attention to the injustices and challenges facing women worldwide based on their gender. 

The position of women across Europe

In October last year, the EU introduced its Gender Action Plan for 2016-2020. It aims to transform the lives of girls and women throughout the EU, striving for gender equality and the promotion, protection and fulfilment of women and girls’ human rights. 

Alternative Sources of Information in Sub-Saharan Africa

The V-Dem Alternative Sources of Information Index measures to what extent the media in a country is (a) un-biased in their coverage (or lack of coverage) of the opposition, (b) allowed to be critical of the regime, and (c) representative of a wide array of political perspectives.  In this week’s graph we examine this aspect of democracy in five of sub-Saharan African countries: Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Benin and Tanzania. 

Liberal democracy and freedom of expression in the Seychelles

Former president of the Seychelles James Mancham has been awarded the Africa Peace Award 2016 for his work to, among many accomplishments, promote peace, interfaith harmony and good governance both in the Seychelles and in Africa as a whole. In this graph of the week we take a closer look at the level of liberal democracy and freedom of expression in the Seychelles.

The relationship between liberal democracy and corruption

Many people believe that one of the best ways to fight corruption is to promote democracy: if public officials know they are accountable to voters, they will be more honest. Is this true?

International Anti-Corruption Day

Last Wednesday was International Anti-Corruption Day. Corruption remains a large challenge for many countries, not the least for Brazil which is experiencing a major corruption scandal. This week’s graph explores corruption among different actors in Brazil.

Egalitarian Democracy in India

In this week’s graph, the development in India over time in terms of egalitarian democracy is explored. Four of the indicators making up the Egalitarian Component Index are included in the figure. 

Myanmar elections

The Myanmar elections on the 8th of November resulted in a landslide victory for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD). 

Virtual Network by UNDP on how to measure SDG16

The V-Dem Institute, among other civil society and academic organizations, has been participating in the discussions of a Virtual Network expert group organized by UNDP on how to measure Sustainable Development Goal 16.

Sustainable Development Goal 16.7

On the theme of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals and especially goal 16, which promotes peace, justice and strong institutions, this week’s graph relates to yet another sub-goal. Target 16.7 aims to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.

V-Dem indicators for Eastern Europe and Russia

In May this year the V-Dem Regional Center for Eastern Europe and Russia was founded at the University of Tartu in Estonia. It is the first regional research center within the worldwide V-Dem network and this Friday a seminar on “Varieties of Democracy: The Baltic States in a Regional and Global Perspective” will be held at the center.

Multiparty elections case of Zimbabwe

Multiparty elections have become a near ubiquitous institutional feature of states around the world. 

Judicial constraints on the executive index

Last week we published a graph on the topic of the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals and in particular goal 16, which promotes peace, justice and strong institutions. One of the 10 sub-goals (16.3) is to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all.

The V-Dem alternative source information index

Last Friday world leaders agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals that are expected to shape the development policy agenda in the world for the next 15 years as the UN general assembly formally adopted the new development goals. Goal 16 promotes peace, justice and strong institutions for sustainable development and consists of 10 sub-goals, one of which is ensuring public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms (sub-goal 16.10). 

Participatory component Ghana

One of the seven V-Dem dimensions of democracy is the participatory. The participatory component of democracy emphasizes active participation by citizens in all political processes, electoral and non-electoral. It takes suffrage for granted, emphasizing engagement in civil society organizations, direct democracy, and subnational elected bodies. 

Global Legislative Openness Week

For Global Legislative Openness Week, V-Dem’s Graph of the Week depicts the degree of legislative constraints on the executive among the regions of the Americas, 1900-2012. 

Electoral Democracy in Africa and Middle East

Electoral democracy is the core component in V-Dem’s conceptualization of democracy. The idea of electoral democracy encompasses the core value of making political leaders responsive to the electorate for the support of broad constituencies through competitive, periodic elections. Using V-Dem’s online analysis tools, variables such as the electoral democracy index can be compared across different countries and regions. 

Liberal democracy Mexico

Distinguishing between various dimensions of democracy, the V-Dem data offer five democracy component indices: electoral, liberal, participatory, egalitarian and deliberative. These components are composed of a number of indicators and indices. In the graph, the indices constituting the liberal democracy component for Mexico - legislative constraints on the executive, judicial constraints on the executive and equality before the law and individual liberty - are displayed. 

Female Empowerment in Japan

The V-Dem Institute provides a number of indices measuring different dimensions of democracy and governance. One of them is the female empowerment index, which reflects the ability, right and freedom of women to hold political power and participate in the society. It is comprised of a number of distinct indicators. The advantage of being able to distinguish between different aspects of female empowerment is evident from the graph below where Japan is the country of analysis.

Distribution of Power Resources in Timor-Leste

The  idea that material and immaterial inequalities inhibit the actual exercise of formal rights and liberties figures prominently in democratic theory. Hence, a more equal distribution of resources across citizens should enhance political equality. In the figure bellow, indicators used to measure the egalitarian component of democracy are displayed for a new country available for analysis on the V-Dem website: Timor-Leste. 

Liberal Component Index case of Argentina

Moves towards and away from democracy constitute a crucial part of the political legacies of a country. The current situation in Argentina, with the death (and allegations surrounding it) of a high level prosecutor earlier this year and the subsequent suggestion of President Kirchner to dissolve the Secretariat of State Intelligence, have made some commentators to draw lines back to the so-called “Dirty War” of the 1970s and 1980s, when the intelligence agency carried out violent human rights repression on a large scale.

The “electoral principle of democracy index”

Since the latest update, V-Dem has not only made available regional averages but also added more countries. Among those are four new countries from Oceania – Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. The “electoral principle of democracy index” seeks to embody the core value of making rulers responsive to citizens, achieved through electoral competition for the electorate’s approval under circumstances when suffrage is extensive; political and civil society organizations can operate freely; elections are clean and not marred by fraud or systematic irregularities; and elections affect the composition of the chief executive of the country.

400 indicators measuring different aspects of democracy

V-Dem now proudly presents more than 400 indicators measuring different aspects of democracy. These indicators are averaged into lower-level indices and democracy components. The components then make up our high-level indices, measuring five principles of democracy: the electoral, the liberal, the deliberative, the participatory and the egalitarian. 

Presidential elections in Kazakhstan

Presidential elections in Kazakhstan originally scheduled for 2016 were held on 26 April 2015; parlamentary elections will be still held in 2016. V-Dem indicators allow us to gauge to what extent parties, including opposition parties, are allowed to form and to participate in elections, and to what extent are civil society organizations able to form and to operate freely in Kazakhstan.

Political power Costa Rica

An important aspect of equality is how political power is spread among different groups in the society. V-Dem offers a variety of indicators measuring the distribution of political power. The graph below shows to what extent different groups in society have been politically disadvantaged due to socioeconomic position, social identity, gender, or sexual orientation in Costa Rica. This country has one of the longest continuing traditions of electoral democracy in Latin America and data for this country on these issues has recently been updated.

Political empowerment

Political empowerment is understood to include freedom of speech, participation in civil society organizations, freedom of movement, the right to private property, access to justice, freedom from forced labor, representation in the ranks of journalists, and an equal share in the overall distribution of power.

Civil society organizations in Tunisia

Last week, V-Dem released data for 31 new countries and updated data for 29 countries for 2013-2014, all available for online analysis on our webpage! A new exciting feature now available with this release on the V-Dem online analysis tools allows for comparisons between countries and the regional average scores on all V-Dem indicators.

Freedom of expression

Democratization has been problematic in many respects in Southeast Asia, with a track record of violations of central democratic principles such as press freedom and political dissent. While Indonesia has taken huge strides in democratization since 1998, countries like Laos and Cambodia have experienced a slower democratization process.

Electoral democracy and egalitarianism

What makes V-Dem different from other initiatives aiming to measure democracy is that we take the many different dimensions of democracy into account by distinguishing among five high-level principles (i.e., electoral, liberal, participatory, deliberative, and egalitarian).

Judiciary in Bolivia

The state of democracy in countries are determined by various actors and institutions. Among other things V-Dem offers disaggregated  data on the legislature, the excecutive, the judiciary, political parties, the civil society and the media.

International Women’s Day

Today is the International Women’s Day which is celebrated around the globe. 

Nigeria will postpone its elections

A couple of weeks ago it was announced that Nigeria will postpone its elections scheduled for February 14th until March 28th.

SDG 16

This week V-Dem is attending the final high-level meeting on “Dialogue on the Implementation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Strengthening Capacities and Building Effective Institutions”, in Moldova.

Corruption in Turkmenistan

Corruption has over the years been increasingly acknowledged by both scholars and practitioners to be a crucial factor in the development of countries and well-functioning democracies. 

The role of Civil Society Organizations

Civil society is, according to many, a crucial actor for democratic governance.

Media freedom the Gambia

The V-Dem dataset contains ten different indicators measuring different aspects of media freedom.

Burma/Myanmar elections

A number of countries will be holding elections this year, one of them being Burma/Myanmar. The country has over the past years moved towards reforming the political system, where the military government reintroduced national elections in 2010, and in that connection  loosened the repression of civil liberties.

Deliberative component index

As the only global data set on democracy, V-Dem provides indicators capturing the extent to which public deliberation is part of the process of national political decision-making.

Female cabinet members

South American countries have traditionally been characterized by few female cabinet members.

Election violence

The ability of countries to successfully conduct secure and non-violent elections is important for the political participation of ordinary citizens and an essential indicator of democratic consolidation. In many African countries, electoral violence remains a crucial challenge. One tragic example is the Kenyan crises of 2007, where thousands of people lost their lives or were displaced following presidential elections.

Tunisian elections

V-Dem registers improvements in democracy in Tunisia, the one case of democratization emerging from the Arab Spring. 

Female empowerment is growing

Both democracy and development entail breaking down the barriers to gender equality. In many new democracies, female empowerment is growing.

Core Civil Society Index

December 18th marks the 4th anniversary of the beginning of the Arab Spring, during which civil society in large parts of the Arab world was mobilized.

Malala Yousafzai - Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest recipient to garner the prize. She has been an activist promoting children's education in Pakistan, especially for girls.

Power distribution: Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea-Bissau

The V-Dem online analysis tool allows exploring and comparing trends in the development of a few countries over time.