Denseman on the Rattis

Formerly known as the Widmann Blog


Types of democracy

The Economist Intelligence Unit has produced a really interesting survey of democracy in the world (in PDF format).

It confirms my worry that political participation is horribly low in the UK, much lower than in any similar country. I suspect Denmark’s score is dragged down by the lack of separation of church and state.

The survey splits democracy into five separate categories:

  1. Electoral process and pluralism
  2. Functioning of government
  3. Political participation
  4. Political culture
  5. Civil liberties

I extracted the data and did some analysis of my own. The strongest correlation seems to be between (1) and (5) – that is, electoral process and pluralism are closely tied to civil liberties. A somewhat less strong correlation is found between (2), (3) and (4) – that is, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture are all linked together.

On the other hand, the weakest correlation is between (1) and (4) – that is, electoral process and pluralism are fairly independent of political culture.

This means that one can very roughly split the world’s governments into four groups, based on two axes, (1)+(5) vs. (2)+(3)+(4):

  1. Countries like Angola, Central Africa, Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Myanmar, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Togo, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan which score low in all regards.
  2. Countries like Bosnia and Hercegovina, Dom Rep, Ecuador, Georgia, Ghana, Haiti, Liberia, Malawi, Nicaragua, Niger and Russia which technically are democracies and have some civil liberties, but where there are big problems with the functioning of government and with political participation and culture.
  3. Countries like Cambodia, China, Ethiopia, Gambia, Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique which are very far from being pluralistic democracies and are low on civil liberties, but which nevertheless have functioning governments and a certain degree of political participation and culture.
  4. Countries like Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland which do well in all respects.

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