Fabio Angiolillo, Martin Lundstedt, Marina Nord , Staffan I. Lindberg | 2024

State of the world 2023: democracy winning and losing at the ballot

In: Democratization, ahead of print

This article presents trends in democracy, autocracy, and regime transformation using the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) dataset version 14. We oer ve main ndings. First, the average level of democracy as measured by the Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) continues to decline and has reached the 1985-level when looking at the population-weighted averages. Second, 42 countries are in ongoing episodes of autocratization, and 18 countries are in ongoing episodes of democratization in 2023. Third, we are the rst to show that out of the 42 autocratizing countries, 19 are Bell-turn autocratizers, while nine out of the 18 democratizers are U-turns.Fourth, we unpack the familiar analysis of the three waves of autocratization and democratization by dividing these into the newly discovered stand-alone episodes of autocratization versus Bell-turn episodes, as well as stand-alone episodes of democratization versus U-turn episodes. This analysis suggests that regime volatility has increased in recent years, as a larger share of both autocratization and democratization are made up of Bell-turns and U-turns, respectively. Fifth, out of the 60 countries holding national elections this year, 31 countries are in some degree of decline in democracy, while only three are improving on democracy.

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