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Pandemic Backsliding

Research project

Short description

The Pandemic Backsliding Project assesses the extent to which governments are violating democratic standards for emergency provisions in response to Covid-19. It tracks state responses to the Covid-19 pandemic as illustrative of the varieties of emergency measures and their execution, addressing how these decisions affect short- and long-term prospects for the political regime and democracy.

Driven by the very real risk that Covid-19 will contribute to further autocratization, our project addresses the following questions: Which countries enacted what type of emergency provisions? To what extent were civil liberties and political institutions that provided constraints on executive power undermined or even suspended? Did the measures meet the UN standards of being “proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory”? Which countries went back to the status quo after the end of the crisis and which did not do so?

Pandemic Backsliding: Democracy During COVID-19 (March to June 2020)

The Pandemic Backsliding Project tracks state responses to Covid-19 and their potential effect on the overall quality of democracy within the country. The current version of the data reflects the situation between March and June 2020.

The Pandemic Democratic Violations Index (Pandem) captures the extent to which state responses to Covid-19 violate democratic standards for emergency responses.

The Pandemic Democratic Violations and Disinformation Index (Pandemdis) considers the extent of government disinformation in addition to the violations of democratic standards for emergency responses. The Pandemic Backsliding Index (Panback) reflects the extent to which such responses pose a risk to the overall quality of democracy within the country. Combined, these three indices provide a snapshot of how emergency responses to Covid-19 may be affecting the quality of democracy within the country. They are not intended to estimate the level of democracy, which is instead captured using the V-Dem Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) in 2019.

Use the options below to compare the March-June 2020 country-level scores for the Pandemic Democratic Violations Index (Pandem), the Pandemic Backsliding Index (Panback), the Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) and the Pandemic Democratic Violations and Disinformation Index (Pandemdis) in 146 countries. You can access Pandemic Backsliding dashboard here.