Thursday, 21 January 2016

Democracy in an age of anxiety

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Democracy Index one of the biggest threats to democracy is the anxious mood of our times

The fearful era in which we live is not conducive to defending democratic standards or extending democracy's reach across the globe. The latest edition of The Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index reflects the situation in 2015, a year in which democracy was tested in the face of war, terrorism, mass migration and other crises, and, in some cases, suffered serious setbacks. In our age of anxiety, the first casualty of fear and insecurity is often freedom.

The Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide. Almost one-half of the world’s countries can be considered to be democracies, but, in our index, the number of “full democracies” is low, at only 20 countries; 59 countries are rated as “flawed democracies”. Of the remaining 88 countries in our index, 51 are “authoritarian” and 37 are considered to be “hybrid regimes”. Norway tops the Democracy Index global ranking in 2015 and North Korea is bottom. The US scrapes into the "full democracy" category, in 20th place, reflecting deepening polarisation of the political scene, popular discontent with the workings of democracy and a repressive law enforcement system.

Democracy Index 2015, by regime type

 

No. of countries

% of countries

% of world population

Full democracies

20

12.0

8.9

Flawed democracies

59

35.3

39.5

Hybrid regimes

37

22.2

17.5

Authoritarian regimes

51

30.5

34.1

Note. "World" population refers to the total population of the 167 countries covered by the Index. Since this excludes only micro-states, this is nearly equal to the entire estimated world population.

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Most "full democracies" are in western Europe. There are two Asian countries, one Latin American country (Uruguay) and one African country (Mauritius). “Flawed democracies” are concentrated in Latin America, eastern Europe and Asia. "Authoritarian regimes" are concentrated in Africa, the Middle East and the CIS countries of eastern Europe. Around 2.6bn people, more than one-third of the world’s population, live under authoritarian rule (with a large share being, of course, in China).

The title of this year's report reflects the threat to democracy emanating from the fearful mood of our times. According to Joan Hoey, Editor of the report, "An increased sense of anxiety and insecurity in the face of diverse perceived risks and threats—economic, political, social and security—is undermining democracy. Defending democracy means upholding liberty, equality, tolerance and free expression, promoting a democratic political culture and fostering democratic institutions."

 The Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index 2015 is available free of charge at: www.eiu.com/democracy2015

   

Notes for editors

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. The index provides a snapshot of the current state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories (almost the entire population of the world). Countries are placed within one of four types of regimes: “full democracies”, “flawed democracies”, “hybrid regimes” and “authoritarian regimes.”

The overall index of democracy, on a 0 to 10 scale, is based on the ratings for 60 indicators grouped in the five categories. The overall index is the simple average of the five category indexes. A three-point scoring system for the 60 indicators is used. The category indexes are based on the sum of the indicator scores in the category, converted to a 0 to 10 scale. Countries are placed within one of four types of regimes: “full democracies” (scores of 8 to 10); “flawed democracies”—scores of 6 to 7.9; “hybrid regimes”—scores of 4 to 5.9; “authoritarian regimes”—scores below 4.

 

About The Economist Intelligence Unit

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the world's leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. It provides accurate and impartial intelligence for companies, government agencies, financial institutions and academic organisations around the globe, inspiring business leaders to act with confidence since 1946. EIU products include its flagship Country Reports service, providing political and economic analysis for 195 countries, and a portfolio of subscription-based data and forecasting services. The company also undertakes bespoke research and analysis projects on individual markets and business sectors. More information is available at www.eiu.com. The EIU is headquartered in London, UK, with offices in more than 40 cities and a network of some 650 country experts and analysts worldwide. It operates independently as the business-to-business arm of The Economist Group, the leading source of analysis on international business and world affairs.

 

 

Democracy Index 2015

 

 

Overall

Electoral process

Functioning

Political

Political

Civil

 

Rank

score

and pluralism

of government

participation

culture

liberties

Full democracies

Norway

1

9.9

10.0

9.6

10.0

10.0

10.0

Iceland

2

9.6

10.0

9.3

8.9

10.0

9.7

Sweden

3

9.5

9.6

9.6

8.3

10.0

9.7

New Zealand

4

9.3

10.0

9.3

8.9

8.1

10.0

Denmark

5

9.1

9.2

9.3

8.3

9.4

9.4

Switzerland

6

9.1

9.6

9.3

7.8

9.4

9.4

Canada

7

9.1

9.6

9.3

7.8

8.8

10.0

Finland

8

9.0

10.0

8.9

7.8

8.8

9.7

Australia

9

9.0

9.6

8.9

7.8

8.8

10.0

Netherlands

10

8.9

9.6

8.6

8.9

8.1

9.4

Luxembourg

11

8.9

10.0

9.3

6.7

8.8

9.7

Ireland

12

8.9

9.6

7.5

7.8

9.4

10.0

Germany

13

8.6

9.6

8.6

7.8

8.1

9.1

Austria

14

8.5

9.6

7.9

8.3

7.5

9.4

Malta

15

8.4

9.2

8.2

6.1

8.8

9.7

United Kingdom

16

8.3

9.6

7.1

6.7

8.8

9.4

Spain

17

8.3

9.6

7.1

7.2

8.1

9.4

Mauritius

18

8.3

9.2

8.2

5.6

8.8

9.7

Uruguay

19

8.2

10.0

8.9

4.4

7.5

10.0

United States of America

20

8.1

9.2

7.5

7.2

8.1

8.2

Flawed democracies

Italy

21

8.0

9.6

6.4

7.2

8.1

8.5

South Korea

22

8.0

8.8

7.9

7.2

7.5

8.5

Japan

=23

8.0

9.2

8.2

6.1

7.5

8.8

Costa Rica

=23

8.0

9.6

7.5

6.1

6.9

9.7

Czech Republic

25

7.9

9.6

7.1

6.7

6.9

9.4

Belgium

26

7.9

9.6

8.2

5.6

6.9

9.4

France

27

7.9

9.6

7.1

7.8

6.3

8.8

Botswana

28

7.9

9.2

7.1

6.1

7.5

9.4

Estonia

29

7.9

9.6

7.9

6.1

6.9

8.8

Chile

30

7.8

9.6

8.6

4.4

6.9

9.7

Taiwan

31

7.8

9.6

7.9

6.7

5.6

9.4

Cabo Verde

32

7.8

9.2

7.9

6.7

6.3

9.1

Portugal

33

7.8

9.6

6.4

6.7

6.9

9.4

Israel

34

7.8

9.2

7.1

8.9

7.5

6.2

India

35

7.7

9.6

7.1

7.2

5.6

9.1

Slovenia

36

7.6

9.6

7.1

6.7

5.6

8.8

South Africa

37

7.6

8.3

8.2

8.3

5.0

7.9

Lithuania

38

7.5

9.6

6.1

6.1

6.3

9.7

Cyprus

39

7.5

9.2

6.4

6.7

6.3

9.1

Greece

40

7.5

9.6

5.4

6.7

6.3

9.4

Jamaica

41

7.4

9.2

6.8

5.0

6.9

9.1

Latvia

42

7.4

9.6

5.7

5.6

6.9

9.1

Slovakia

43

7.3

9.6

7.5

5.6

5.0

8.8

Timor-Leste

44

7.2

8.7

7.1

5.6

6.9

7.9

Panama

45

7.2

9.6

6.4

6.1

5.0

8.8

Bulgaria

46

7.1

9.2

6.1

7.2

5.0

8.2

Trinidad and Tobago

47

7.1

9.6

7.1

5.6

5.0

8.2

Poland

48

7.1

9.6

5.7

6.7

4.4

9.1

Indonesia

49

7.0

7.8

7.1

6.7

6.3

7.4

Argentina

50

7.0

9.2

5.0

6.1

6.9

7.9

Brazil

51

7.0

9.6

6.8

5.6

3.8

9.1

Croatia

52

6.9

9.2

6.1

5.6

5.6

8.2

Ghana

53

6.9

8.3

5.7

6.7

6.3

7.4

Philippines

=54

6.8

8.3

5.7

6.7

4.4

9.1

Hungary

=54

6.8

9.2

6.1

4.4

6.9

7.7

Suriname

56

6.8

9.2

6.4

5.0

5.0

8.2

Tunisia

57

6.7

7.0

6.1

7.8

6.9

5.9

Serbia

58

6.7

9.2

5.4

6.7

5.0

7.4

Romania

59

6.7

9.2

5.7

5.0

5.0

8.5

Dominican Republic

60

6.7

8.8

5.7

5.0

6.3

7.7

El Salvador

61

6.6

9.2

6.1

4.4

5.0

8.5

Mongolia

=62

6.6

9.2

5.7

5.0

5.0

8.2

Colombia

=62

6.6

9.2

7.1

3.9

4.4

8.5

Lesotho

64

6.6

8.3

5.4

6.7

5.6

7.1

Peru

65

6.6

9.2

5.0

6.1

4.4

8.2

Mexico

66

6.6

8.3

6.1

7.2

4.4

6.8

Hong Kong

67

6.5

4.3

5.7

5.6

7.5

9.4

Malaysia

68

6.4

6.9

7.9

5.6

6.3

5.6

Sri Lanka

69

6.4

7.8

6.8

5.0

6.9

5.6

Moldova

70

6.4

7.9

4.3

6.7

4.4

8.5

Paraguay

71

6.3

8.3

5.7

5.0

4.4

8.2

Namibia

72

6.3

5.7

5.4

6.7

5.6

8.2

Zambia

73

6.3

7.9

5.4

3.9

6.9

7.4

Singapore

74

6.1

4.3

7.5

5.6

6.3

7.1

Senegal

75

6.1

7.9

5.4

4.4

5.6

7.1

Guyana

76

6.1

7.9

5.4

5.6

4.4

7.1

Papua New Guinea

77

6.0

6.9

6.1

3.9

5.6

7.7

Macedonia

78

6.0

7.3

4.6

6.1

4.4

7.7

Montenegro

79

6.0

7.9

5.7

5.0

4.4

7.1

Hybrid regime

Guatemala

80

5.9

7.9

6.1

3.9

4.4

7.4

Albania

81

5.9

7.0

4.4

5.6

5.0

7.7

Georgia

82

5.9

8.7

4.3

5.6

5.0

5.9

Ecuador

83

5.9

8.3

4.6

5.0

4.4

7.1

Honduras

84

5.8

8.8

5.7

3.9

4.4

6.5

Bolivia

85

5.8

7.0

5.4

5.0

3.8

7.7

Bangladesh

86

5.7

7.4

5.1

5.0

4.4

6.8

Benin

87

5.7

6.9

5.7

4.4

5.6

5.9

Ukraine

=88

5.7

5.8

3.9

6.7

5.0

7.1

Mali

=88

5.7

7.4

3.9

4.4

6.3

6.5

Fiji

90

5.7

4.6

5.7

6.7

5.6

5.9

Tanzania

91

5.6

7.0

5.0

5.0

5.6

5.3

Malawi

92

5.6

6.6

4.3

4.4

6.3

6.2

Kyrgyz Republic

=93

5.3

7.8

3.3

5.6

5.0

5.0

Kenya

=93

5.3

4.3

5.0

6.7

5.6

5.0

Nicaragua

95

5.3

6.2

3.3

4.4

5.6

6.8

Uganda

96

5.2

5.7

3.6

4.4

6.3

6.2

Turkey

97

5.1

6.7

5.4

5.0

5.6

2.9

Thailand

98

5.1

4.5

3.9

5.6

5.0

6.5

Venezuela

99

5.0

6.1

3.9

5.0

4.4

5.6

Liberia

100

5.0

7.8

0.8

5.6

5.0

5.6

Bhutan

101

4.9

8.3

5.4

2.8

4.4

3.8

Lebanon

102

4.9

4.4

2.1

7.8

4.4

5.6

Madagascar

103

4.9

5.5

2.9

5.6

5.6

4.7

Bosnia and Hercegovina

104

4.8

6.5

2.9

3.9

4.4

6.5

Nepal

105

4.8

3.9

4.3

4.4

5.6

5.6

Burkina Faso

106

4.7

4.4

4.3

4.4

5.6

4.7

Morocco

107

4.7

4.8

4.6

3.9

5.6

4.4

Nigeria

108

4.6

6.1

4.3

3.3

5.0

4.4

Mozambique

109

4.6

4.4

3.6

5.6

5.6

3.8

Palestine

110

4.6

4.8

2.1

7.8

4.4

3.8

Sierra Leone

111

4.6

6.6

1.9

2.8

6.3

5.3

Pakistan

112

4.4

6.0

5.7

2.8

2.5

5.0

Cambodia

113

4.3

3.2

5.7

3.3

5.0

4.1

Myanmar

114

4.1

3.2

3.6

4.4

6.9

2.7

Iraq

115

4.1

4.3

0.1

7.2

4.4

4.4

Armenia

116

4.0

4.3

2.9

4.4

2.5

5.9

Authoritarian

Mauritania

117

4.0

3.0

4.3

5.0

3.1

4.4

Algeria

118

4.0

3.0

2.2

3.9

6.3

4.4

Haiti

119

3.9

4.8

2.2

2.2

3.8

6.8

Jordan

120

3.9

3.6

3.9

3.9

4.4

3.5

Kuwait

=121

3.9

3.2

4.3

3.9

4.4

3.5

Niger

=121

3.9

6.3

1.1

2.8

4.4

4.7

Ethiopia

123

3.8

0.0

3.6

6.1

5.6

3.8

Gabon

124

3.8

3.0

2.2

4.4

5.0

4.1

Comoros

125

3.7

4.3

2.2

4.4

3.8

3.8

Cameroon

126

3.7

2.0

3.6

3.9

5.0

3.8

Belarus

127

3.6

1.8

3.6

3.9

6.3

2.7

Vietnam

128

3.5

0.0

3.9

3.9

6.9

2.9

Cuba

129

3.5

1.8

4.6

3.9

4.4

2.9

Togo

130

3.4

4.0

1.1

2.8

5.0

4.1

Angola

131

3.4

0.9

3.2

5.0

4.4

3.2

Côte d'Ivoire

=132

3.3

0.0

3.2

3.9

5.6

3.8

Russia

=132

3.3

2.7

2.9

5.0

2.5

3.5

Egypt

=134

3.2

3.0

2.9

3.3

3.8

2.9

Qatar

=134

3.2

0.0

3.9

2.2

5.6

4.1

Guinea

=136

3.1

3.5

0.4

4.4

4.4

2.9

China

=136

3.1

0.0

4.6

3.3

6.3

1.5

Swaziland

138

3.1

0.9

2.9

2.2

5.6

3.8

Rwanda

139

3.1

0.8

5.0

2.2

4.4

2.9

Kazakhstan

140

3.1

0.5

2.1

4.4

4.4

3.8

Zimbabwe

141

3.1

0.5

2.0

3.9

5.6

3.2

Oman

142

3.0

0.0

3.9

2.8

4.4

4.1

Gambia

143

3.0

1.3

3.9

2.2

5.0

2.4

Congo (Brazzaville)

144

2.9

1.7

2.9

3.3

3.8

2.9

Djibouti

145

2.9

0.4

2.5

3.3

5.6

2.7

Bahrain

146

2.8

1.3

3.2

2.8

4.4

2.4

Afghanistan

147

2.8

2.5

1.1

3.9

2.5

3.8

United Arab Emirates

148

2.8

0.0

3.6

2.2

5.0

2.9

Azerbaijan

149

2.7

0.5

2.1

3.3

3.8

3.8

Burundi

150

2.5

0.5

0.4

3.9

5.0

2.7

Sudan

=151

2.4

0.0

1.8

3.9

5.0

1.2

Eritrea

=151

2.4

0.0

2.1

1.7

6.9

1.2

Libya

153

2.3

1.0

0.0

1.7

5.6

2.9

Yemen

154

2.2

0.5

0.4

4.4

5.0

0.9

Laos

155

2.2

0.0

3.2

1.7

5.0

1.2

Iran

156

2.2

0.0

2.9

3.3

3.1

1.5

DRC

157

2.1

0.9

0.7

2.8

4.4

1.8

Uzbekistan

=158

2.0

0.1

1.9

2.2

5.0

0.6

Tajikistan

=158

2.0

0.6

0.1

1.7

6.3

1.2

Guinea-Bissau

=160

1.9

1.7

0.0

2.8

3.1

2.1

Saudi Arabia

=160

1.9

0.0

2.9

2.2

3.1

1.5

Turkmenistan

162

1.8

0.0

0.8

2.8

5.0

0.6

Equatorial Guinea

163

1.8

0.0

0.8

2.2

4.4

1.5

Central African Republic

164

1.6

1.3

0.0

1.7

2.5

2.4

Chad

165

1.5

0.0

0.0

1.1

3.8

2.7

Syria

166

1.4

0.0

0.0

2.8

4.4

0.0

North Korea

167

1.1

0.0

2.5

1.7

1.3

0.0

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit.

  

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