The Myth of Democratic Recession

  title={The Myth of Democratic Recession},
  author={Steven Levitsky and Lucan Ahmad Way},
  journal={Journal of Democracy},
  pages={45 - 58}
A near consensus has emerged that the world has fallen into a “democratic recession.” Leading observers and democracy advocates characterize the last decade as a period of democratic “rollback,” “erosion,” or “decline,”1 in which new democracies have fallen victim to a “powerful authoritarian undertow.”2 In an article entitled “The Great Democracy Meltdown,” for example, Joshua Kurlantzick claims that global freedom has “plummeted.”3 Another observer suggests that “we might in fact be seeing… 

Tables from this paper

Democratic regression in comparative perspective: scope, methods, and causes
ABSTRACT Between 1974 and 2005, a majority of states became democratic for the first time in history. However, a global democratic recession began in 2006 and has persisted – and deepened – over the
Opposition at the Margins: The Erosion of Democracy in Latin America
by Laura Gamboa Gutiérrez In the past decade new and old democracies have eroded. Democratically elected presidents across the world have used their popularity to introduce constitutional amendments
Why Democracy is Its Own Worst Enemy
The challenges that lay ahead for democracy are so serious that few political scientists have the courage to risk their reputation and pin down with relative accuracy what will happen on a 5/10/15
“New normal” no more: democratic backsliding in Singapore after 2015
ABSTRACT After the “watershed” General Elections (GE) in 2011, Singapore seemed primed for greater democratization. The ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) adopted a softer tone, and promised an
Explaining Indonesia’s Democratic Regression: Structure, Agency and Popular Opinion
After almost two decades of praise for Indonesia’s democratic achieve­ ments, a scholarly consensus has begun to emerge that Indonesian democracy is in regression. In this article, we consider the
Democracy: History of a Crisis Without End
Over the last years it has been increasingly discussed about the crisis of democracy, a process that does not only concern the new realities, but also and perhaps more surprisingly the Western world.
INTRODUCTION A Recession of Democracies? There are conflicting signals concerning the global political landscape in the twenty-first century. When looking at the vehement political protests seen
Is Western Democracy Backsliding? Diagnosing the Risks
The predominantly sunny end-of-history optimism about democratic progress, evident in the late-1980s and early-1990s following the fall of the Berlin Wall, has turned rapidly into a more pessimistic
Walking the Talk: How to Identify Anti-Pluralist Parties
The recent increase of democratic declines around the world – “the third wave of autocratization” – has sparked a new generation of studies on the topic. Scholars agree that these days the main
BEATING BACKSLIDING? EPISODES AND OUTCOMES OF DEMOCRATIC BACKSLIDING IN ASIA-PACIFIC IN THE PERIOD 1950 TO 2018 Aurel Croissant Paper prepared for the workshop "Democratic Backsliding in Asia: Resilience,Responses, Revival," Heidelberg University, 8-9 December 2019. Very preliminary draft Comments g
Worldwide, democracy faces substantial challenges. Advanced democracies in the West face malaise as globalization and technological progress, political polarization and income inequality


State, conflict, and democracy in Africa
Part 1 Introduction and Overview: State, Conflict and Democracy in Africa, R. Joseph Democratization in Africa - Toward a Balance Sheet, C. Young Rethinking Democratic Transitions - Lessons from
Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies
Political science scholars consider the four-volume work "Transitions from Authoritarian Rule" to be a foundational text for studying the process of democratization, specifically in those cases where
The Pushback Against Democracy
Freedom appeared in a state of stagnation during 2006, according to Freedom House's annual Freedom in the World survey. The most significant development was the decline in freedom in Asia and
Breakthroughs in the Balance
In Freedom House’s annual report on political rights and civil liberties for 2012, the number of countries exhibiting gains, 16, lagged behind the number with declines, 28. The most noteworthy gains
Democracy Under Duress
Freedom in the World 2011, the latest edition of Freedom House's annual survey of global political rights and civil liberties, showed that conditions worsened for the fifth consecutive year. The
The Freedom House Survey for 2009: The Erosion Accelerates
Abstract:In a year of intensified repression against human-rights defenders and democratic activists by many of the world's most powerful authoritarian regimes, Freedom House found a continued
China at the Tipping Point?: Goodbye to Gradualism
Abstract: China is heading toward a tipping point, with two scenarios standing out as the most likely “scripts” for how a political opening will come about. Whichever scenario occurs, most Chinese
Research Note: Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research
The recent trend toward democratization in countries across the globe has challenged scholars to pursue two potentially contradictory goals. On the one hand, they seek to increase analytic
The End of the Transition Paradigm
In the last quarter of the twentieth century, trends in seven different regions converged to change the political landscape of the world: 1) the fall of right-wing authoritarian regimes in Southern
V-Dem: A New Way to Measure Democracy
In the last few decades, Western governments have spent huge sums of money to promote democracy abroad. We do not know which, if any, of these programs actually work. If we cannot measure democracy