IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Global indices measuring democracy

6th April, 2024 International Relations

Global indices measuring democracy

Disclaimer: Copyright infringement not intended.


The Democracy Report

  1. V-Dem provides a multidimensional and disaggregated dataset that reflects the complexity of the concept of democracy as a system of rule that goes beyond the simple presence of elections.
  2.  ‘Democracy Report 2024’ was released by the Gothenburg-based V-Dem Institute.

V-Dem distinguishes between five high-level principles of democracy:

  1. Electoral,
  2. Liberal,
  3. Participatory,
  4. Deliberative, and
  5. Egalitarian, and collect data to measure these principles. 

Components of the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI) as per the V-Dem’s ‘Democracy Report 2024’

  • Liberal Component Index (LCI):
    • It measures aspects such as the protection of individual liberties and legislative constraints on the executive branch of government.
  • Electoral Democracy Index (EDI):
    • This index considers indicators that ensure free and fair elections, such as freedom of expression and association.
  • Egalitarian Component Index:
    • It assesses the extent to which different social groups within a country are equal in terms of rights and opportunities.
  • Participatory Component Index:
    • This index evaluates the health and functionality of citizen groups and civil society organizations, reflecting the level of citizen participation in governance.
  • Deliberative Component Index:
    • Examines whether political decisions are made through public reasoning focused on the common good or through emotional appeals, solidarity attachments, or coercion.

V-Dem Report’s Methodology

  • The report produces the largest global data on democracy and it is based on 31 million datasets that cover 202 countries from 1789 to 2023.
  • Different Attributes of Democracy are considered by including over 4,300 scholars from 180 plus countries and experts from various other countries.
  • V-Dem enables multiple ways to study the nature, causes, and consequences of democracy embracing its multiple meanings.
  • V-Dem’s researchers code a series of indicators for 12 areas across media, civil society, political parties, and civil liberties, and each area is assigned five experts.

Findings of the Democracy Report 2024

According to the Democracy Report 2024, 42 countries (home to 35% of the world’s population) were undergoing autocratisation.

According to the report, 71% of the world’s population which is 5.7 billion people, live in autocracies, an increase from 48% ten years ago.

8 of the top 10 “stand-alone” autocracies were liberal or electoral democracies. In 2023, none are liberal democracies, and only 2 can be considered electoral democracies.

The level of democracy given to the “average person in the world is down to 1985 levels”, with the sharpest decline occurring in Eastern Europe, and South and Central Asia.

The Democracy Report 2024 indicated that the freedom of expression, clean elections, and freedom of association/civil society as the three worst affected components of democracy in autocratising countries.

The autonomy of the electoral management bodies “is weakening substantially in 22 of the 42 autocratising countries

The level of “liberal democracy” enjoyed by the average Indian is now “down to levels last seen in 1975 during Emergency.

The report also noted that the only liberal democracy in the whole of South and Central Asia was Bhutan.

India’s Concerns about Global Democracy Indices

  • Negative Impact on Sovereign Ratings:
    • Declines in democracy rankings affect India’s sovereign ratings and position on global governance indicators, potentially impacting its international standing.
    • Negative assessments undermine confidence in India’s democratic institutions, potentially impacting foreign investments and diplomatic relations.
  • Sovereignty Concerns:
    • India views global democracy assessments as an intrusion on its sovereignty, with Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar criticizing them as biased and subjective.
  • Erosion of Image:
    • Negative commentary and downgrades by international indices threaten India’s image as a democratic nation, especially in light of upcoming elections.



Practice Question

Consider the following statements about the ‘Democracy Report 2024’

  1.  ‘Democracy Report 2024’ was released by the Transparency International.
  2. According to the report, 71% of the world’s population which is 5.7 billion people, live in autocracies.
  3. As per the report 8 of the top 10 “stand-alone” autocracies were liberal or electoral democracies.

How many of the above statements are above is/are correct?

  1. Only one
  2. Only Two
  3. All three
  4. None

Answer- 2