Erosion of Democratic Accountability Affects Majority of the World’s Population

Global Index Shows Decline in Democratic Accountability Across World’s Most Populous Countries

Los Angeles, CA (DNA) – The recently released Berggruen Governance Index (BGI) has revealed a concerning trend of democratic backsliding in the world’s 12 most populous countries. The index, which measures democratic accountability, has shown declines in these countries from 2010 to 2021, raising concerns about the potential for further deterioration.

According to the report, the 12 most populous countries, accounting for 59% of the world’s population, have all experienced declines in democratic accountability. Among these countries, India, China, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, and the Philippines saw significant drops of 8 to 18 points on the 100-point index. Pakistan, Nigeria, Mexico, and Japan also experienced marginal declines of 2 to 4 points.

Overall, the global average score for democratic accountability declined from 67 to 65 points from 2010 to 2021, with a rise from 64 to 67 points observed between 2000 and 2010. This decline is concerning, as even small decreases in democratic accountability can lead to further deterioration, known as democratic backsliding.

Ethiopia, the 13th most populous country with 107 million people, was the only country among the world’s 25 most populous to improve its democratic accountability score from 2010 to 2021, with an increase from 36 to 49 points.

The 96-page report, titled “Democracy Challenged,” was a joint effort between the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Luskin School of Public Affairs, the Berggruen Institute, and the Hertie School, a German university. It examines democratic accountability alongside two other indices on public goods and state capacity to understand why some countries perform better than others in providing a high quality of life.

Despite the decline in democratic accountability, the report found that most countries have maintained or improved their delivery of public goods, such as employment, healthcare, and education, even in the face of challenges like the 2008 financial crisis and the recent Covid-19 pandemic. However, state capacity has remained stagnant overall.

The report also highlighted the 10 most improved countries in democratic accountability, including Tunisia, Gambia, Liberia, and Libya in Africa, as well as Peru, Armenia, Bhutan, Iraq, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. However, most of these countries still fall short of being considered full democracies. Additionally, the gains made by Tunisia, Libya, Myanmar, and Afghanistan have likely been erased due to ongoing conflicts and unrest.

Despite these challenges, Africa as a region has shown more positive developments than negative ones, according to the report.

The report also addressed the decline in democratic accountability in India, which has seen a decrease in its score from 80 to 62 points under the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. China also saw a decrease from 28 to 20 points as President Xi Jinping extended his authority.

Other countries that experienced significant declines in the democracy index include Venezuela, Thailand, Turkey, Yemen, and Russia. In the European Union, Poland and Hungary also saw democratic backsliding, while a potential for democratic renewal was seen in Poland following the defeat of a right-wing populist government accused of undermining democratic standards in the 2023 elections.

Denmark topped the index with 99 points out of 100, while Syria ranked at the bottom with 14 points. The United States also experienced a decline in its score from 95 to 86 points on the democracy index, with the state capacity also declining from 79 to 64 points between 2010 to 2021.

The report, titled “Democracy Challenged,” has been distributed by the Democracy News Alliance, a collaboration between Agence France-Presse (AFP, France), Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA, Italy), The Canadian Press (CP, Canada), Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa, Germany), and PA Media (PA, UK). All recipients are authorized to use the material without a separate subscription agreement. The DNA content is produced independently from the other services of the participating agencies and adheres to their editorial standards of unbiased and impartial reporting.

For further coverage, visit the DNA digital newsroom at

Christian Röwekamp, Democracy News Alliance
Distributed by

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