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State of the world 2017: autocratization and exclusion?

Journal article
Authors Anna Lührmann
Valeriya Mechkova
Sirianne Dahlum
Laura Maxwell
Moa Olin
Constanza Sanhueza Petrarca
Rachel Sigman
Matthew C. Wilson
Staffan I Lindberg
Published in Democratization
Volume 25
Issue 8
Pages 1321-1340
ISSN 1351-0347
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Political Science
V-Dem Institute
Pages 1321-1340
Language en
Keywords Democracy, autocratization, V-Dem, inclusion, backsliding, gender equality, egalitarian democracy, social group inclusion, economic inequality
Subject categories Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


This article presents evidence of a global trend of autocratization. The most visible feature of democracy – elections – remains strong and is even improving in some places. Autocratization mainly affects non-electoral aspects of democracy such as media freedom, freedom of expression, and the rule of law, yet these in turn threaten to undermine the meaningfulness of elections. While the majority of the world’s population lives under democratic rule, 2.5 billion people were subjected to autocratization in 2017. Last year, democratic qualities were in decline in 24 countries across the world, many of which are populous such as India and the United States. This article also presents evidence testifying that men and wealthy groups tend to have a strong hold on political power in countries where 86% of the world population reside. Further, we show that political exclusion based on socio-economic status in particular is becoming increasingly severe. For instance, the wealthy have gained significantly more power in countries home to 1.9 billion of the world’s population over the past decade.

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