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Democracy Ranking

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Title: Democracy Ranking  
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Subject: Polity data series, Christian Welzel, Democracy Index, International development, United Nations Development Programme
Collection: Democracy, Indexes, Organisations Based in Austria, Research
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Democracy Ranking

Democracy Ranking is an independent initiative, whose organization (point of contact, the ″Democracy Ranking Association″) is located primarily in Vienna, 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 has emphasized a broader understanding of democracy, creating a conceptual link between politics and the output and performance of society. The Democracy Ranking has compared several-year intervals, delivering ranking results, which show how ranking positions and score levels have developed recently. Referring to that information, a Democracy Improvement Ranking has been regularly released.


  • Vision 1
  • Theory, conceptual formula and methodology 2
  • Reflections on the Democracy Ranking 3
  • Outcome: Democracy Ranking and Democracy Improvement Ranking scores 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7
    • Official links 7.1


"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 makes explicit the "theoretical basis", which governs the theoretical self-understanding of the Democracy Ranking.[5]

The Democracy Ranking understands and measures democracies in a multi-dimensional framework and approach. By this, the Democracy Ranking contributes to a further development of measurement of democracy. 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%.[6]

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 the context of society, and includes interfaces between politics, society, economy, and even the environment.. Politics (policy) has or should have a responsibility for economic (socioeconomic) performance. Furthermore, there is also a need that democracy reflects the context of the (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 and requires 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 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[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] and in coverage by international media.[14][15]

Outcome: Democracy Ranking and Democracy Improvement Ranking scores

The Democracy Ranking analyzes several-year intervals, revealing relative ranking positions as well as changes of score levels over time. Typically, more than hundred countries are being compared in context of a specific Democracy Ranking. Based on ranking results and their shifts, a Democracy Improvement Ranking 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. Individual annual rankings of the Democracy Ranking are also published in separate book volumes.[16]

  • Democracy Ranking 2013
  • Democracy Improvement Ranking 2013
  • Democracy Ranking 2012
  • Democracy Improvement Ranking 2012
  • Democracy Ranking 2011
  • Democracy Improvement Ranking 2011
  • Democracy Ranking 2010
  • Democracy Improvement Ranking 2010
  • Democracy Ranking 2009
  • Democracy Improvement Ranking 2009
  • Democracy Ranking 2008/2009
  • Democracy Improvement Ranking 2008/2009

See also



  1. ^ See "about us" of the Democracy Ranking
  2. ^ See contact details of the Democracy Ranking
  3. ^ Vision and mission of the Democracy Ranking
  4. ^ Campbell, David F. J. (2008). The Basic Concept for the Democracy Ranking of the Quality of Democracy. Vienna: Democracy Ranking
  5. ^ See "theoretical basis" of the Democracy Ranking
  6. ^ Campbell, David F. J. / Miklós Sükösd (eds.) (2002). Feasibility Study for a Quality Ranking of Democracies. Vienna: Global Democracy Award
  7. ^ (No. 149-153)CongresistasRomo, M. C. Felipe Reyes (2007). Transnacionalismo y participación política. Consideraciones teórico-metodológicas para el desarrollo de un sistema electoral con participación extraterritorial.
  8. ^ 49 (2), 208-233SWS-RundschauCampbell, David F. J. / Thorsten D. Barth (2009). Wie können Demokratie und Demokratiequalität gemessen werden? Modelle, Demokratie-Indices und Länderbeispiele im globalen Vergleich. (How Can Democracy and the Quality of Democracy Be Measured? Models, Democracy Indices and Country-Based Case Studies in Global Comparison.)
  9. ^ 38 (2), 227-249LeviathanJochem, Sven (2010). Wandel und Zukunftsaussichten des schwedisch-sozialdemokratischen Modells. (Change and Future Prospects of the Swedish Social Democratic Model.)
  10. ^ Barth, Thorsten D. (2010). Konzeption, Messung und Rating der Demokratiequalität. Brasilien, Südafrika, Australien und die Russische Föderation 1997-2006. (Conception, Measurement and Rating of the Quality of Democracy. Brazil, South Africa, Australia, and the Russian Federation, 1997-2006.) Saarbrücken: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller
  11. ^ Rosema, Martin / Bas Denters / Kees Arts (eds.) (2011). How Democracy Works. Political Representation and Policy Congruence in Modern Societies. Amsterdam: Pallas Publications (Amsterdam University Press)
  12. ^ Hankiovsky, Olena / Anastasiya Salnykova (eds.) (2012). Gender, Politics and Society in Ukraine. Toronto: University of Toronto Press
  13. ^ Vatter, Adrian (2014). Das politische System der Schweiz. Baden-Baden: Nomos (UTB)
  14. ^ "Globale Demokratie-Hitliste: Wer steigt auf und wer ab" (2013, December 12) by Wieland Schneider, Die Presse (Austria)
  15. ^ "Only democracy can clean up the planet. Save the ballot box and save the world" (2009, November 20), by Neil Reynolds, The Globe and Mail (Canada)
  16. ^ Campbell, David F. J. / Thorsten D. Barth / Paul Pölzlbauer / Georg Pölzlbauer (2012). Democracy Ranking (Edition 2012): The Quality of Democracy in the World. Vienna: Democracy Ranking (Books on Demand)

External links

Official links

  • Democracy Ranking
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