Global Erosion of Democracy – 2016 Transformation Index


The 2016 Transformation Index BTI of the German Bertelsmann Stiftung ranks 74 out of 129 developing countries as democracies—the highest level since the survey was developed. This fact, however, belies the true nature of the state of the global political transformation. In the majority of these countries, the BTI 2016 detects an erosion of democratic standards.

Three factors combine to produce an overall alarming political outlook:

  • Many governments have taken electoral successes and comfortable majorities as license to govern with decreasing consideration for opposition or minorities.
  • Political and civil rights are increasingly restricted in defective democracies under stress of social divides, religious extremism, or ethnic cleavages.
  • And, repression has intensified in many autocracies with a growing tendency among the ruling classes of copying instruments and mechanisms from other autocratic regimes to silence civil society and disable political participation.

BTI project directors Sabine Donner and Hauke Hartmann will provide an overview of the BTI’s most recent findings and discuss the conjunction between negative political trends and a decline in several aspects of governance quality:

The International Forum for Democratic Studies
at the National Endowment for Democracy

presents an informal briefing on

The Global Erosion of Democracy

Sabine Donner

BTI Project Director


Hauke Hartmann

BTI Project Director

moderated by

Michael Allen
Special Assistant in Government Relations and Public Affairs/Editor, Democracy Digest, National Endowment for Democracy

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 – 3 pm to 4:30 pm 

National Endowment for Democracy

1025 F Street NW, Suite 800

Washington, D.C. 20004

RSVP to by Tuesday, April 26

The Transformation Index BTI analyzes and monitors the quality of democracy, market economy and governance in 129 developing and transformation countries on a regular basis. Publisher is the Bertelsmann Stiftung, one of the largest private, non-partisan foundations in Germany. Since 2006, it has measured successes and setbacks on the path toward a democracy based on the rule of law and a market economy anchored in principles of social justice. Assessments are based on comprehensive country reports accessible at

The BTI results from an international analytical collaboration of almost 300 experts from top international universities and think tanks and local reporters in most countries. It intends to detect strengths and weaknesses by comparison and to find good examples for successful political steering. The BTI is the only cross-national index that measures governance quality through self-collected data and provides an analysis of political management in transformation processes.

As such, it is one of the prime sources to assess development and transformation in international comparison, integral part of the Worldwide Governance Indicators, the Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International) and the Ibrahim Index of African Governance and used by donor countries to evaluate the governance of their partner countries. The BTI was published in Arabic, Russian and Spanish by think tanks aiming to broaden and substantiate the discourse on reform and democratization.

About the Speakers:

Sabine Donner is Senior Project Manager at the Bertelsmann Stiftung and co-directs the BTI project “Shaping Change – Strategies of Development and Transformation. Sabine holds an M.A. in Political Science, German Literature and Slavic Studies from the University of Freiburg. Prior to joining the Bertelsmann Stiftung, Sabine worked as a freelance journalist for German newspapers and radio stations. Her main areas of research are good governance and democratization with a regional focus on the Former Soviet Union countries. She was the BTI’s regional coordinator for Post-Soviet Eurasia and member of the innovation council of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Hauke Hartmann is Senior Project Manager at the Bertelsmann Stiftung and co-directs the BTI project “Shaping Change – Strategies of Development and Transformation”. With a thematic focus on democratization and human rights, he takes particular interest in governance in Arab and Latin American countries. He was a Fellow at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies and received his Ph.D. for his thesis on US human rights policy under President Carter from Free University of Berlin. He was Fulbright scholar and holds an M.A. both in North American Studies (John F. Kennedy Institute Berlin) and in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (State University of New York).



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