Democracy in Decline?

Book

For almost a decade, Freedom House’s annual survey has highlighted a decline in democracy in most regions of the globe. Some analysts say this shows that the world has entered a "democratic recession." Others dispute that interpretation, emphasizing democracy’s success in maintaining the huge gains it made during the last quarter of the twentieth century.

Alfred C. Stepan (1936–2017)

Article
January 2018

Fighting Terrorism: The Democracy Advantage

Article
January 2018

Despite worries that terror groups can turn open societies’ very openness against them, the numbers reveal that liberal democracies enjoy significant advantages in resisting the threat of terrorism. 

The Case for Democratic Persistence

Article
January 2018

A review of Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom by Condoleezza Rice.

Reevaluating Runoffs in Latin America

Article
January 2018

The worldwide popularity of runoff rules for presidential elections has grown strikingly in recent decades. In Latin America, contrary to scholarly expectations, this shift has had important benefits for democracy. 

The Pipe Dream of Undemocratic Liberalism

Article
July 2017

A look at liberal democracy’s complex historical evolution shows that elite fantasies of liberalism without democracy are ill-founded. Authoritarian legacies and democratic deficits lie at the core of trends that threaten liberal rights.

The Rise of Referendums: Demystifying Direct Democracy

Article
July 2017

Plebiscites have grown less common in recent decades in authoritarian and semi-authoritarian countries, even as the use of referendums in democracies has expanded. Despite their many shortcomings, referendums are, on balance, a mechanism for strengthening democracy.

The Rise of Referendums: Elite Strategy or Populist Weapon?

Article
July 2017

Political elites once held referendums to fend off challenges to European integration. More recently, Euroskeptic parties have employed referendums to batter down the walls of elite consensus. But the spread of referendums threatens to undermine the legitimacy of representative democracy.

The End of the Postnational Illusion

Article
April 2017

With the advance of modernization, nationalism was supposed to fade away. Yet everywhere we look, even in advanced democracies, nationalism’s influence seems larger than ever. What did we get wrong?

What’s in a Name?

Article
April 2017

A review of What Is Populism? by Jan-Werner Müller.

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