Democracy in Retreat – Global Survey



Democracy Index 2014: Democracy and its Discontents
The Economist


The Economist Intelligence Unit measures the global performance of Western-style democracy with its annual global state-of-democracy report.

Performance is measured through a series of indicators such as political participation, political culture, civil liberties and the functioning of government.

In 2014, its report highlighted a marked decline in both the performance and standing of Western-style liberal democracies across the world.

This decline has been prominent in ‘core’ democracies such as the United States, United Kingdom and democracies in Western Europe, as well as in newly-minted democracies in Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America.

The 2014 report found:

  • Public confidence in democratic institutions continues to decline in many developed countries, particularly in the United States where intense political partisanship has led to a ‘collapse’ in public faith in its political system
  • Poor political leadership and the growing gap between political parties and voters is giving rise to increasing populism in Western Europe
  • In Eastern Europe, there is ‘a mood of deep disappointment with democracy’
  • The number of ‘full democracies’ is low, while the number of ‘flawed democracies’ is rising

The 2014 findings are similar to The Economist's annual state-of-democracy reports over the past five years, giving rise to the view that democracy is now in global retreat or ‘recession’.

Thumbnail image: Acampada girona/Flickr.

Published Date
September 1, 2014