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Democracy Ranking is an independent initiative, whose organization (point of contact) is located primarily in Austria.[1][2] Democracy Ranking produces an annual global ranking of democracies. The applied conceptual formula, which measures the quality of democracy, integrates freedom and other characteristics of the political system with the performance of non-political dimensions (gender, economy, knowledge, health, and environment). Democracy Ranking emphasizes a broader understanding of democracy, creating a conceptual link between politics and the output and performance of society. The Democracy Ranking compares several-year intervals, delivering ranking results, which show how ranking positions and score levels have developed recently. Referring to that information, also a Democracy Improvement Ranking is being regularly released.



"The Democracy Ranking is interested in contributing to the global enhancement of the Quality of Democracy in a world-wide understanding and approach."[3]

Theory, conceptual formula and methodology

The Democracy Ranking initiative applies the following conceptual formula for defining democracy and measuring the quality of democracy:

Quality of Democracy = (freedom & other characteristics of the political system) & (performance of the non-political dimensions).[4]

This approach includes also the output of democracies. Democracy Ranking refers to countries (country-based democracies) with a population of one million or more and that are classified by Freedom House as "free" or at least as "partly free" (see also the Freedom House report).

The Democracy Ranking understands democracies multi-dimensionally. According to the ranking, democracy consists of six dimensions (one political, five non-political), with different weights for the overall quality of democracy. Their weights are distributed accordingly:

(1) politics (or the political system) 50%;

(2) gender (gender equality in socioeconomic and educational terms) 10%;

(3) economy (or the economic system) 10%;

(4) knowledge (knowledge society, research and education) 10%;

(5) health (or the health system and health status) 10%;

(6) and environment (environmental sustainability) 10%.[5]

The theoretical basis of the Democracy Ranking encourages a broader approach for explaining and measuring democracy while covering and integrating non-political dimensions. This is enabled by an understanding that democracy represents not only a concept of the political system, but also a concept that extends to society, and includes interfaces between politics, society and economy. Politics (policy) has or should have a responsibility for economic (socioeconomic) performance. Furthermore, there is also a need that democracy reflects the context of its (natural) environment.

Concepts of democracy turn out to be more demanding, the more they move from a mainly electoral democracy (emphasizing elections and political rights) to a liberal democracy (also encompassing civil liberties), and further extending to a liberal democracy of an advanced high quality. In that logic, the Democracy Ranking reflects a "demanding type" of democracy.

Methodically, the Democracy Ranking does not create new indicators, but relies on already existing indicators that are being released regularly by renowned international and/or private non-profit organizations. The Democracy Ranking draws on available indicators according to a distinct conceptual formula and sixfold dimensional structure, thus providing a theoretically based conceptual design (a basic concept) of how to combine and aggregate these indicators. Depending on the source, the content of the indicators varies, extending from peer review assessment (for example, on freedom) to indicators that capture performance (e.g., socioeconomic behavior). The Democracy Ranking initiative acknowledges the work of organizations such as Freedom House, the World Bank, and also the United Nations Development Program (more specifically the Human Development Index).

Reflections on the Democracy Ranking

The work of the Democracy Ranking is being reflected in academic discourse[6][7] and in coverage by international media.[8][9]

Outcome: Democracy Ranking 2008/2009 scores

The Democracy Ranking[10] compares several-year intervals, revealing relative ranking positions as well as changes of score levels over time. Based on ranking results and their shifts, also a Democracy Improvement Ranking[11] is being carried out, with a full result release. The Democracy Improvement Ranking places the emphasis on increases or decreases of the ranking scores of democracies.

See also


External links


Official links

Democracy Ranking reports


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