• According to the latest report from the V-Dem Institute at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg, the level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to 1989 levels, with the democratic gains of the post-Cold War period eroding rapidly in the last few years.
  • The Report is titled ‘Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature?’.
  • Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) produces the largest global dataset on democracy with over 30 million data points for 202 countries from 1789 to 2021.
  • Earlier, the Global State of Democracy Report, 2021 was released by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International-IDEA).

The report classifies countries into four regime types based on their score in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI):

  1. Liberal Democracy, Electoral Democracy, Electoral Autocracy, and Closed Autocracy.
  2. The LDI captures both liberal (individual and minority rights) and electoral aspects (free and fair elections) of a democracy based on 71 indicators that make up the Liberal Component Index (LCI) and the Electoral Democracy Index (EDI).
  3. The LCI measures aspects such as protection of individual liberties and legislative constraints on the executive, while the EDI considers indicators that guarantee free and fair elections such as freedom of expression and freedom of association.
  4. In addition, the LDI also uses an Egalitarian Component Index (to what extent different social groups are equal), Participatory Component Index (health of citizen groups, civil society organisations), and Deliberative Component Index (whether political decisions are taken through public reasoning focused on common good or through emotional appeals, solidarity attachments, coercion).

Main Findings of the Report

  • Sweden topped the LDI index, other Scandinavian countries such as Denmark and Norway, along with Costa Rica and New Zealand make up the top five in liberal democracy rankings.
  • India is part of a broader global trend of an anti-plural political party driving a country’s autocratisation.
  • It was ranked 93rd in the LDI, India figures in the “bottom 50%” of countries.
  • It has slipped further down in the Electoral Democracy Index, to 100, and even lower in the Deliberative Component Index, at 102.
  • In South Asia, India is ranked below Sri Lanka (88), Nepal (71), and Bhutan (65) and above Pakistan (117) in the LDI.
  • Autocratisation is spreading rapidly, with a record of 33 countries autocratising.
  • Signaling a sharp break from an average of 1.2 coups per year, 2021 saw a record 6 coups, resulting in 4 new autocracies: Chad, Guinea, Mali and Myanmar.
  • While the number of liberal democracies stood at 42 in 2012, their number has shrunk to their lowest level in over 25 years, with just 34 countries and 13% of the world population living in liberal democracies.
  • Closed autocracies, or dictatorships, rose from 25 to 30 between 2020 and 2021.

Electoral Autocracy Most Common Regime Type:

  • The world today has 89 democracies and 90 autocracies, electoral autocracy remains the most common regime type, accounting for 60 countries and 44% of the world population or 3.4 billion people.
  • Electoral democracies were the second most common regime, accounting for 55 countries and 16% of the world population.


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