The Case for Democracy

The world is currently experiencing a wave of autocratization characterized by increasing executive power, erosion of democratic norms, and a general tendency toward less freedom. One-third of the world’s population – 2.6 billion people – now lives in countries undergoing autocratization. Even so, for the President and members of Congress to incite a mob to storm the US capitol on 6 January 2021 is unparalleled. Confronted with a world-wide surge in ‘autocratization’ and repeated attacks on democracy, world leaders have rejuvenated the idea of a global coalition of democracies. For instance, new US President Joe Biden announced his intention to convene an international Democracy Summit. Boris Johnson has proposed a D(emocracy)10 bringing together the G7 states with Australia, India and South Korea. German foreign minister Heiko Maas recently suggested a Marshall Plan for Democracy, and Sweden launched the ‘Drive for Democracy’ as a new foreign policy priority.

In light of these challenges to democracies world wide, the V-Dem Institute initiated the "Case for Democracy" program - a campaign to translate and distribute knowledge and ideas from the academic sphere to policymakers and practitioners. Its goal is to actively outline and promote the socio-economic and security benefits inherent in a more democratic world. Providing evidence-based information is of utmost importance in the present era of “fake news” which is often generated by and in support of autocratization.

The Case for Democracy Week 2021

The ‘Case for Democracy’ Week features five 1.5-hour webinars (one webinar each day) from March 22 – 25, 2021 bringing together academics and policymakers in a dialogue based on state-of-the art scientific findings on the dividends of democracy for a series of development outcomes: 1) economic development, 2) human development and infrastructures, 3) human development and health, 4) security, and (5) combating climate change.

This project is partly financed by the European Union.

Rohini Pande (Yale University), James Robinson (University of Chicago), Scott Gates (PRIO & University of Oslo), Amanda Murdie (University of Georgia), Thomas Bernauer (ETH & ISTP), and Thomas J. Bollyky (Council of Foreign Relations & Georgetown University) are among the list of speakers. You can find the full list of speakers and the final program here and can watch each session on V-Dem YouTube channel using the links below: 

Five Case for Democracy Week Policy Briefs are now out – distilling the hard scientific evidence for dividends that democracy brings. You can read and download them using the links below:

Publications on the Dividends of Democracy

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The Business Case for Democracy: Democracies Deliver

This report is produced by Democracy Arch (D-Arch), a non profit company that aims to bridge democracy research and practice.    







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The Business Case for Democracy

Authors: Carl Henrik Knutsen

University of Gothenburg, Varieties of Democracy Institute: Working Paper No. 111. October 2020.

You may download it by clicking on the icon to the left.





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Worth the Sacrifice? Illiberal and Authoritarian Practices during Covid-19

Authors: Seraphine F. Maerz, Anna Lührmann, Jean Lachapelle, Amanda B. Edgell

University of Gothenburg, Varieties of Democracy Institute: Working Paper No. 110. September 2020.

You may download it by clicking on the icon to the left.






































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Staffan I. Lindberg


Professor, Dept. of Political Science, U of Gothenburg

Principal Investigator, Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)

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Vanessa Boese

Vanessa is a post-doctoral researcher at the Varieties of Democracy Institute at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She obtained her PhD in economics summer 2019 at Humbolt-Universität zu Berlin. Her thesis "Why Democracy Matters: An Economic Perspective" covers how to (not) measure democracy in quantitative studies; macro-economic models of trade, development, democracy and peace, as well as panel data methods. Three of her articles are published in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Economics of Peace and Security Journal or International Area Studies Review.

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Natalia Natsika

Research Assistant

Natalia holds a master's in Political Science from the University of Gothenburg, and a bachelor's in Political Science and Public Administration from the University of Athens, Greece. Her main research interests include among others:democracy; democratization; party systems; crises and democratic representation; civil society and social movements.