Has democracy regressed back to 1986?


Have all of the gains of democracy’s Third Wave been erased?

The recent report from the Varieties of Democracy made a stir with some of its headline findings. Perhaps the most controversial is their finding that global democracy has regressed back to the same level as 1986 for the average citizen, Justin Kempf writes at Democracy Paradox. It raised many eyebrows, because this sets democracy back to the Cold War Era. It erases notable gains from the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. This was an era where apartheid existed in South Africa and military dictatorships governed Chile, Indonesia, and South Korea.

Naturally, some well-respected political scientists raised questions about the data and V-DEM’s approach. Beginning with Thomas Carothers’ critique at the launch of V-DEM’s report, many felt this finding simply “doesn’t correspond to reality.” Lucan Way was absolutely incredulous and Adam Przeworski called the entire report “a publicity stunt.” READ THE REST.


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