Keeping the Democratic Façade: Contemporary Autocratization as a Game of Deception

50 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2018

See all articles by Anna Lührmann

Anna Lührmann

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute; Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: August 2018

Abstract

Less than thirty years after Fukuyama and others declared liberal democracy’s eternal dominance, a third wave of autocratization is manifest. Gradual declines of democratic regime attributes characterize contemporary autocratization. Yet, we lack the appropriate conceptual and empirical tools to diagnose and compare such elusive processes. Addressing that gap, this paper provides the first comprehensive empirical overview of all autocratization episodes from 1900 to today based on data from the Varieties of Democracy Project (V-Dem). We demonstrate that a third wave of autocratization is indeed unfolding. It mainly affects democracies with gradual setbacks under a legal façade. While this is a cause for concern, the historical perspective presented in this paper shows that panic is not warranted: the current declines are relatively mild and the global share of democratic countries remains close to its all-time high. As it was premature to announce the “end of history” in 1992, it is premature to proclaim the “end of democracy” now.

Suggested Citation

Lührmann, Anna and Lindberg, Staffan I., Keeping the Democratic Façade: Contemporary Autocratization as a Game of Deception (August 2018). V-Dem Working Paper 2018:75. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3236601 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3236601

Anna Lührmann (Contact Author)

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Göteborg, S-405 30
Sweden

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se/varianter-pa-demokrati--v-dem-/

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
42
Abstract Views
272
PlumX Metrics