News & Updates

Is Democracy in Decline?

It appears to be dark days for democracy across the globe. While authoritarian regimes are ascending, scholars and citizens alike fear that democracy is on its last legs.

The Journal of Democracy’s authors have set out to answer the question: Is global democracy really in freefall? Here’s what they think.

No, democracy remains strong!

Democracy’s Surprising Resilience
Despite worry of an authoritarian resurgence, the vast majority of “third wave” democracies are enduring. Democracy, buoyed by economic growth and urbanization, is outperforming most people’s expectations or fears.
By Steven Levitsky and Lucan A. Way

Why the Future is Democratic
The swelling pessimism about democracy’s future is unwarranted. Values focused on human freedom are spreading throughout the world, and suggest that the future of self-government is actually quite bright.
By Christian Welzel

Why Democracies Survive
Democracies are under stress, but they are not about to buckle. The erosion of norms and other woes do not spell democratic collapse. With incredibly few exceptions, affluent democracies will endure, no matter the schemes of would-be autocrats.
By Kenny Miao and Jason Brownlee

Yes, democracy is in danger!

Democracy’s Arc: From Resurgent to Imperiled
Whether democracy regains its footing will depend on how democratic leaders and citizens respond to emboldened authoritarians and the fissures within their own societies.
By Larry Diamond

The Undemocratic Dilemma
The ability of liberal democracies around the world to translate popular views into public policy has been declining. Yet there is no easy way to overcome this trend without weakening the capacity of governments to solve some of the most pressing challenges of the coming decades.
By Yascha Mounk

The Anatomy of Democratic Backsliding
Can we recognize the symptoms of backsliding before it’s too late? Though the signals are sometimes faint, a new study of sixteen cases around the world reveals key dynamics common to all.
By Stephan Haggard and Robert Kaufman 

Plus, read the 1991 Journal of Democracy classic that first examined the last major global breakthrough for democracy:

Democracy’s Third Wave
By Samuel P. Huntington

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