May 28, 2018 news
KEY FINDING: GLOBAL LEVELS OF DEMOCRACY REMAIN HIGH, BUT AUTOCRATIZATION – THE DECLINE OF DEMOCRATIC ATTRIBUTES – AFFECTS 2.5 BILLION PEOPLE AND IS GAINING MOMENTUM.
The new report released by the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute today is based on world’s largest data set on democracy including the assessments of more 3,000 democracy experts for 201 countries.
The focus of the Democracy Report 2018 is “Democracy for All?” for two reasons. First, citizens — not just the territorial unit in which they live — are central to democracy. In addition to the conventional averages across countries, the V-Dem Institute therefore analyzes liberal and electoral democracy across the world weighted by the size of each country’s population. Autocratization is now manifesting in a number of large countries including Brazil, India, Russia, Turkey, and the United States. It affects one third of the world’s population - some 2.5 billion people.
Second, even in democracies, some groups – women, social groups, and the poor – are systematically disadvantaged from access to political power. Only 15 percent of the world’s population, or 1.1 billion people, live in a society where political power is distributed at least somewhat equally by gender or socio-economic group. Exclusion due to socio-economic status has continuously become more severe since the 1970s. Intensified political exclusion now affect poorer groups in countries home to one-quarter of the world’s population, or almost 2 billion people. Despite gradual advances, inclusion remains an illusion.
Liberal democracies are systematically better than all other political regimes at ensuring the de facto ability of all citizens to influence the political process – including women, various social groups, and individuals with different socio-economic status.
Anna Lührmann, V-Dem Deputy-Director and the leader of Democracy Report group comments on the findings: “Core electoral aspects of democracy continue to improve in many countries. At the same time the aspects of democracy that make elections truly meaningful are in decline. Media autonomy, freedom of expression and alternative sources of information, and the rule of law have undergone the greatest declines among democracy metrics in recent years. This worrisome trend affects both autocracies and democracies.”
DEMOCRACY REPORT can be viewed and downloaded here.