Descriptive Statistics

Number of Events Logged by Year

The final coding exercise of the Democratic Erosion Event Dataset v.1 resulted in the tabulation of 158 case studies spanning 65 different countries. The majority of logged events were categorized as precursors and symptoms (49 and 39 percent, respectively). All three types of erosion-related events were seen to generally trend upwards between 2007 and 2016, the target period of case study narratives assigned to students. There is uneven distribution of each category of event, with some being extremely common and others quite rare. Corruption (precursor), media repression (symptom), and non-violent protest (resistance) emerged as the three most common events within their variable category.

 

Type of Precursor by Region

This chart represents the type of precursor by region. Looking at both European regions, we note that economic precursors are relatively more frequent. This may be due to the adoption of austerity policies shortly after the Great Recession of 2008, which triggered waves of protest and raised social anxiety. Echoing the distribution of symptom types, civic precursors are most common in the least developed regions of Asia, and Africa. Such trends suggest interesting hypotheses that could be tested by joining our events dataset with complementary data on economic development and state capacity.

 

Type of Resistance by Region

This chart represents resistance events by region. Nonviolent protests comprise the dominant form of resistance in both Asia and North Africa and the Middle East. The types of resistance that manifested in Latin America and the Caribbean, South/East Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa were both more diverse and evenly-distributed with checks on the legislative/judiciary, pressure from outside actors, state attempts to prevent backsliding, and elite pacts being as or more common as non-violent protest.

 

 Type of Symptoms by Region

This bar chart represents the types of symptoms per region. We can see that the frequency of types is also distinct across regions. Media repression is the dominant symptom of democratic erosion in Latin America and Eastern Europe. However, in Asia and Africa, the curtailment of civil liberties is as or more common a symptom as media repression. Interestingly, more institutional attacks such as reduction in electoral freedoms and judicial independence is more common in the relatively more developed states in Europe.

 

Number of Symptoms by Year and Region

This graph represents the frequency of symptoms per year and per region. It is important to note that frequency has been increasing over time in five of the six regions, but the year at which this growth occurred is distinct. We hypothesize that this is due to the fact that regions are not only geographical identities but also social-cultural universes with different historical backgrounds that influence the pattern of events.

 

Percentage of Symptoms by Quintile of the Liberal Democracy Index

This chart shows the distribution of coded symptoms across quintiles of electoral democracies per the Liberal Democracy Index produced by Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem). The Liberal Democracy Index measures the state of electoral democracy, with quality improving from quintile 1 to 5. When cross-referenced with the Liberal Democracy Index, the Democratic Erosion Event Dataset shows that erosion events are far more likely to occur in countries that fall in the lower three quintiles of the index.