Democracy Index

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The Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy index map for 2014.
Greener colours represent more democratic countries.
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The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, that measures the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 165 are United Nations member states. The index is based on 60 indicators grouped in five different categories measuring pluralism, civil liberties, and political culture. In addition to a numeric score and a ranking, the index categorizes countries as one of four regime types full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.

The index was first produced for 2006, with updates for 2008, 2010 and the following years since then.

Methodology[edit]

As described in the report,[1] the democracy index is a weighted average based on the answers of 60 questions, each one with either two or three permitted alternative answers. Most answers are "experts' assessments"; the report does not indicate what kinds of experts, nor their number, nor whether the experts are employees of the Economist Intelligence Unit or independent scholars, nor the nationalities of the experts. Some answers are provided by public-opinion surveys from the respective countries. In the case of countries for which survey results are missing, survey results for similar countries and expert assessments are used in order to fill in gaps.

The questions are distributed in the five categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning of government, political participation, and political culture. Each answer is translated to a mark, either 0 or 1, or for the three-answer alternative questions, 0.5. With the exceptions mentioned below, the sums are added within each category, multiplied by ten, and divided by the total number of questions within the category. There are a few modifying dependencies, which are explained much more precisely than the main rule procedures. In a few cases, an answer yielding zero for one question voids another question; e.g., if the elections for the national legislature and head of government are not considered free (question 1), then the next question, "Are elections... fair?" is not considered, but automatically marked zero. Likewise, there are a few questions considered so important that a low score on them yields a penalty on the total score sum for their respective categories, namely:

  1. "Whether national elections are free and fair";
  2. "The security of voters";
  3. "The influence of foreign powers on government";
  4. "The capability of the civil servants to implement policies".

The five category indices, which are listed in the report, are then averaged to find the democracy index for a given country. Finally, the democracy index, rounded to one decimal, decides the regime type classification of the country.

The report discusses other indices of democracy, as defined e.g. by Freedom House, and argues for some of the choices made by the team from the Economist Intelligence Unit. In this comparison, a higher emphasis has been put on the public opinion and attitudes, as measured by public surveys, but on the other hand, economic living standard has not been weighted as one criterion of democracy (as seemingly some other investigators have done).[2][3]

The report is widely cited in the international press as well as in peer reviewed academic journals.[4]

Changes from 2010 to 2011 and 2012[edit]

According to the issue of the index for 2012, Norway scored a total of 9.93 on a scale from zero to ten, keeping the first place position it has held since 2010, when it replaced Sweden as the highest-ranked country in the index. North Korea scored the lowest with 1.08, remaining at the bottom in 167th place, the same as in 2010 and 2011.[1]

There was no significant improvement or regression in democracy between 2011 and 2012. In 2012 the index score stayed the same for 73 out of 167 countries, improved for 54 countries, and declined for 40. Libya experienced the biggest increase of any country in its score in 2012. Average regional scores in 2012 were very similar to scores in 2011. An exception is the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) where the average score increased by more than a tenth of a point, from 3.62 to 3.73 and three countries moved from authoritarian to hybrid regimes (Egypt, Libya, Morocco).[1]

The Democracy Index for 2011 highlighted the impact of the Arab Spring and the greater effects it might have, as well as the impact of the global financial crisis in 2008–09 on politics throughout most of Europe. The Democracy Index score was lower in 2011 than in 2010 in 48 countries out of the 167 that are covered. It was higher in 41 ranked countries, and it stayed the same in 78.[5]

In nine countries there was a change in regime type between 2010 and 2011; in four of these there was regression. Russia was downgraded from a hybrid regime to an authoritarian regime, which the report attributes to concerns over the December 4 legislative election and Vladimir Putin's decision to run again in the 2012 presidential election. Portugal was also downgraded to the flawed democracy category, attributed to the effects of the global financial crisis. Tunisia, Mauritania, Egypt, and Niger were all upgraded to hybrid regimes, and Zambia moved up to the flawed democracy category.[5]

Democracy index by regime type[edit]

The following table gives the number and percentage of countries and the percentage of the world population for each regime type in 2014:[6]

Type of regime Scores Number of countries  % of countries  % of world population
Full democracies 8.0 to 10 24 14.4 12.5
Flawed democracies 6.0 to 7.9 52 31.1 35.5
Hybrid regimes 4.0 to 5.9 39 23.4 14.4
Authoritarian regimes   0 to 3.9 52 31.1 37.6

World population refers to the total population of the 167 countries that are covered. Since this survey excludes only a few countries, this is nearly equal to the entire actual estimated world population in 2010.

Democracy index by region[edit]

The following table gives the index average by world region, and the number of covered countries in 2014. Note that some regional groups (e.g., the 'Eastern Europe') are very heterogeneous and composed of full democracies as well as authoritarian regimes:

Rank Region Countries 2006[3] 2008[7] 2010[8] 2011[5] 2012[1] 2013[9] 2014[6]
1 North America 2 8.64 8.64 8.63 8.59 8.59 8.59 8.59
2 Western Europe 21 8.60 8.61 8.45 8.40 8.44 8.41 8.41
3 Latin America and the Caribbean 24 6.37 6.43 6.37 6.35 6.36 6.38 6.36
4 Asia and Australasia 28 5.44 5.58 5.53 5.51 5.56 5.61 5.70
5 Central and Eastern Europe 28 5.76 5.67 5.55 5.50 5.51 5.53 5.58
6 Sub-Saharan Africa 44 4.24 4.28 4.23 4.32 4.33 4.36 4.34
7 Middle East and North Africa 20 3.54 3.48 3.52 3.62 3.73 3.68 3.65
  World 167 5.52 5.55 5.46 5.49 5.52 5.53 5.55

Democracy index by country (2014)[edit]

Listing by country is available on the Economist web site;[10] for by-country tables in Wikipedia using similar measures, see List of freedom indices.

Rank Country Score Category
1  Norway 9.93 Full democracy
2  Sweden 9.73 Full democracy
3  Iceland 9.58 Full democracy
4  New Zealand 9.26 Full democracy
5  Denmark 9.11 Full democracy
6   Switzerland 9.09 Full democracy
7  Canada 9.08 Full democracy
8  Finland 9.03 Full democracy
9  Australia 9.01 Full democracy
10  Netherlands 8.92 Full democracy
11  Luxembourg 8.88 Full democracy
12  Ireland 8.72 Full democracy
13  Germany 8.64 Full democracy
14  Austria 8.54 Full democracy
15  Malta 8.39 Full democracy
16  United Kingdom 8.31 Full democracy
17  Uruguay 8.17 Full democracy
17  Mauritius 8.17 Full democracy
19  United States 8.11 Full democracy
20  Japan 8.08 Full democracy
21  South Korea 8.06 Full democracy
22  Spain 8.05 Full democracy
23  France 8.04 Full democracy
24  Costa Rica 8.03 Full democracy
25  Czech Republic 7.94 Flawed democracy
26  Belgium 7.93 Flawed democracy
27  India 7.92 Flawed democracy
28  Botswana 7.87 Flawed democracy
29  Italy 7.85 Flawed democracy
30  South Africa 7.82 Flawed democracy
31  Cape Verde 7.81 Flawed democracy
32  Chile 7.80 Flawed democracy
33  Portugal 7.79 Flawed democracy
34  Estonia 7.74 Flawed democracy
35  Republic of China 7.65 Flawed democracy
36  Israel 7.63 Flawed democracy
37  Slovenia 7.57 Flawed democracy
38  Lithuania 7.54 Flawed democracy
39  Latvia 7.48 Flawed democracy
40  Poland 7.47 Flawed democracy
41  Greece 7.45 Flawed democracy
42  Cyprus 7.40 Flawed democracy
43  Jamaica 7.39 Flawed democracy
44  Brazil 7.38 Flawed democracy
45  Slovakia 7.35 Flawed democracy
46  Timor-Leste 7.24 Flawed democracy
47  Panama 7.08 Flawed democracy
48  Trinidad & Tobago 6.99 Flawed democracy
49  Indonesia 6.95 Flawed democracy
50  Croatia 6.93 Flawed democracy
51  Hungary 6.90 Flawed democracy
52  Argentina 6.84 Flawed democracy
53  Suriname 6.77 Flawed democracy
53  Philippines 6.77 Flawed democracy
55  Bulgaria 6.73 Flawed democracy
56  Serbia 6.71 Flawed democracy
57  Romania 6.68 Flawed democracy
57  Mexico 6.68 Flawed democracy
59  Dominican Republic 6.67 Flawed democracy
60  Lesotho 6.66 Flawed democracy
61  Mongolia 6.62 Flawed democracy
62  Colombia 6.55 Flawed democracy
63  Peru 6.54 Flawed democracy
64  El Salvador 6.53 Flawed democracy
65  Malaysia 6.49 Flawed democracy
66  Hong Kong 6.46 Flawed democracy
67  Zambia 6.39 Flawed democracy
68  Ghana 6.33 Flawed democracy
69  Moldova 6.32 Flawed democracy
70  Tunisia 6.31 Flawed democracy
71  Paraguay 6.26 Flawed democracy
72  Macedonia 6.25 Flawed democracy
73  Namibia 6.24 Flawed democracy
74  Senegal 6.15 Flawed democracy
75  Papua New Guinea 6.03 Flawed democracy
75  Singapore 6.03 Flawed democracy
77  Montenegro 5.94 Hybrid regime
78  Guyana 5.91 Hybrid regime
79  Ecuador 5.87 Hybrid regime
80  Honduras 5.84 Hybrid regime
81  Georgia 5.82 Hybrid regime
82  Guatemala 5.81 Hybrid regime
83  Bolivia 5.79 Hybrid regime
83  Mali 5.79 Hybrid regime
85  Bangladesh 5.78 Hybrid regime
86  Tanzania 5.77 Hybrid regime
87  Sri Lanka 5.69 Hybrid regime
88  Albania 5.67 Hybrid regime
89  Malawi 5.66 Hybrid regime
90  Benin 5.65 Hybrid regime
91  Fiji 5.61 Hybrid regime
92  Ukraine 5.42 Hybrid regime
93  Thailand 5.39 Hybrid regime
94  Nicaragua 5.32 Hybrid regime
95  Kyrgyzstan 5.24 Hybrid regime
96  Uganda 5.22 Hybrid regime
97  Kenya 5.13 Hybrid regime
98  Turkey 5.12 Hybrid regime
98  Lebanon 5.12 Hybrid regime
100  Venezuela 5.07 Hybrid regime
101  Liberia 4.95 Hybrid regime
102  Bhutan 4.87 Hybrid regime
103  Bosnia & Herzegovina 4.78 Hybrid regime
103  Cambodia 4.78 Hybrid regime
105    Nepal 4.77 Hybrid regime
106  Palestinian Authority 4.72 Hybrid regime
107  Mozambique 4.66 Hybrid regime
108  Pakistan 4.64 Hybrid regime
109  Sierra Leone 4.56 Hybrid regime
110  Madagascar 4.42 Hybrid regime
111  Iraq 4.23 Hybrid regime
112  Mauritania 4.17 Hybrid regime
113  Armenia 4.13 Hybrid regime
114  Burkina Faso 4.09 Hybrid regime
115  Niger 4.02 Hybrid regime
116  Morocco 4.00 Authoritarian regime
117  Algeria 3.83 Authoritarian regime
118  Haiti 3.82 Authoritarian regime
119  Libya 3.80 Authoritarian regime
120  Kuwait 3.78 Authoritarian regime
121  Jordan 3.76 Authoritarian regime
121  Gabon 3.76 Authoritarian regime
121  Nigeria 3.76 Authoritarian regime
124  Ethiopia 3.72 Authoritarian regime
125  Belarus 3.69 Authoritarian regime
126  Côte d'Ivoire 3.53 Authoritarian regime
127  Cuba 3.52 Authoritarian regime
127  Comoros 3.52 Authoritarian regime
129  Togo 3.45 Authoritarian regime
130  Vietnam 3.41 Authoritarian regime
130  Cameroon 3.41 Authoritarian regime
132  Russia 3.39 Authoritarian regime
133  Angola 3.35 Authoritarian regime
134  Burundi 3.33 Authoritarian regime
135  Rwanda 3.25 Authoritarian regime
136  Qatar 3.18 Authoritarian regime
137  Kazakhstan 3.17 Authoritarian regime
138  Egypt 3.16 Authoritarian regime
139  Oman 3.15 Authoritarian regime
140  Swaziland 3.09 Authoritarian regime
141  Burma 3.05 Authoritarian regime
141  The Gambia 3.05 Authoritarian regime
143  Guinea 3.01 Authoritarian regime
144  China 3.00 Authoritarian regime
145  Djibouti 2.99 Authoritarian regime
146  Republic of the Congo 2.89 Authoritarian regime
147  Bahrain 2.87 Authoritarian regime
148  Azerbaijan 2.83 Authoritarian regime
149  Yemen 2.79 Authoritarian regime
150  Zimbabwe 2.78 Authoritarian regime
151  Afghanistan 2.77 Authoritarian regime
152  United Arab Emirates 2.64 Authoritarian regime
153  Sudan 2.54 Authoritarian regime
154  Uzbekistan 2.45 Authoritarian regime
155  Eritrea 2.44 Authoritarian regime
156  Tajikistan 2.37 Authoritarian regime
157  Laos 2.21 Authoritarian regime
158  Iran 1.98 Authoritarian regime
159  Guinea-Bissau 1.93 Authoritarian regime
160  Turkmenistan 1.83 Authoritarian regime
161  Saudi Arabia 1.82 Authoritarian regime
162  Democratic Republic of the Congo 1.75 Authoritarian regime
163  Syria 1.74 Authoritarian regime
164  Equatorial Guinea 1.66 Authoritarian regime
165  Chad 1.50 Authoritarian regime
166  Central African Republic 1.49 Authoritarian regime
167  North Korea 1.08 Authoritarian regime

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Democracy index 2012: Democracy at a standstill". Economist Intelligence Unit. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Democracy index 2010". Blog. Direct Democracy UK. December 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b Laza Kekic, director, country forecasting services (15 November 2006). "The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy". The World in 2007. Economist Intelligence Unit. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  4. ^ e.g., "Inside the Authoritarian State: More State Than Nation: Lukashenko's Belarus", Dzmitry Yuran, Natalie Manayeva, and Oleg Manaev, Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 65, No. 1 (Fall/Winter 2011), page 93.
  5. ^ a b c "Democracy index 2011: Democracy under stress". Economist Intelligence Unit. 14 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
  6. ^ a b The EIU Democracy Index for the year 2014, Democracy Index 2014.
  7. ^ "Index of Democracy 2008". Economist Intelligence Unit. 21 October 2008. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Democracy Index 2010: Democracy in retreat". Economist Intelligence Unit. 6 December 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011. 
  9. ^ Democracy Index 2013, Democracy Index 2013, Democracy in limbo.
  10. ^ http://pages.eiu.com/rs/eiu2/images/Democracy-Index-2012.pdf

External links[edit]