Figure of the 15 Field Matrix (Core Measurement)

Democracy Matrix

  • Three dimensions, 5 Institutions, 15 Matrix Fields
  • Three levels of analysis: core measurement, context measurement and trade-off measurement
  • Quality and democracy profiles
  • A long time-series, many countries

Flyer

More details

Publication: Lauth, Hans-Joachim and Oliver Schlenkrich. 2018. Making Trade-Offs Visible: Theoretical and Methodological Considerations about the Relationship between Dimensions and Institutions of Democracy and Empirical Findings. Politics and Governance 6 (1): 78–91.

Publication

Lauth, Hans-Joachim und Oliver Schlenkrich. 2018. Making Trade-Offs Visible: Theoretical and Methodological Considerations about the Relationship between Dimensions and Institutions of Democracy and Empirical Findings. Politics and Governance 6 (1): 78–91.

 

Read the publication (Open Access)

Improvers and Decliners of the Quality of Democracy by the Total Value Index (Context Measurement) global

Ranking of the Quality of Democracy

  • Improvers and decliners: Which countries have improved or deteriorated their quality of democracy compared to the last measurement point?
  • Ranking of countries by their quality of democracy: Which are most democratic countries? Which are the most authoritarian countries?

See the Ranking for 2017

Total Value Index 2017 (Context Measurement)

Total Value Index 2017

Empirical findings of the total value index of the Democracy Matrix (Measurement level: context measurement) for 2017

Number of Regimes of the Democracy Matrix from 1900 to 2017 (Context Measurement)

Regime classifications

The regime classification of the context measurement shows: democracies are on the rise compared to autocracies. The number of hybrid regimes increases since the 1990s.

3 Dimensions, 5 Institutions, 15 Matrix Fields

The democracy matrix is a tool for measuring democratic quality. Drawing on data from the Varieties-of-Democracy-Project (V-Dem), the democracy matrix offers information for more than 170 countries in the period between 1900 and 2017. It came into being in the course of the DFG research project “The Democracy Matrix as an Alternative to the Democracy Indices of Freedom House and Polity: Implementation of the Varieties-of-Democracy-Data by Using the 15-Field-Matrix of Democracy” of the Chair of Comparative Politics and German Government at the University of Würzburg.

Democracy Matrix

Get Detailed Insight into Democracy Quality

In order to be able to determine the democratic quality of a state, altogether 15 matrix fields are studied in the democracy matrix. On the one hand, the extent of the three key democracy dimensions of political freedom, political equality, and political and legal control are surveyed. On the other hand, the matrix depicts the functioning of five institutions: procedures of decision, regulation of the intermediate sphere, public communication, guarantee of rights, and rules settlement and implementation. Thus, all relevant partial areas of democratic regimes are considered, and these partial areas can be combined into overall assessments. In addition, the democracy matrix distinguishes between three levels of analysis – core measurement, context measurement and trade-off measurement – and thus makes possible a differentiated look at the democracy quality of political systems. Further information is provided by a brief presentation and a more in-depth explanation of the conception of the matrix and the data used.

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses of Democracies

The goal of the democracy matrix and comparable measurement tools in the research area of democracy measurement is to determine the democratic quality of political systems worldwide, in order to be able to compare them to each other. For quality measurement allows us not only to examine democracies, but also autocratic regimes, since the basic categories of the concept of the democracy matrix also adequately represent autocracies – at a lower level of quality, of course. Therefore, the democracy matrix can also be understood as a measurement apparatus for regime measurement. Democracy matrix data is thus well-suited to the study of transformation processes. In this project, however, our focus is the differentiated examination of democracies.

The specific construction of the democracy matrix and its 15 fields gives rise to detailed quality profiles. On the one hand, these allow for the classification of political systems into autocracies, hybrid systems, and deficient and functioning democracies . On the other hand, they make apparent at a glance where democratic strengths and weaknesses are found in a country. Thus, for instance, free and fair elections can be held regularly in a country, but the standards of the rule of law are not assured. Further information on the individual regime classifications is to be found here.

Discover Conflicting Democratic Objectives in a Country

A particular innovation of the democracy matrix concerns the measurement of so-called trade-offs, which express an irresolvable conflict of political values on which a society has to take a position. For it is not possible to maximise all democracy dimensions simultaneously and, as consequence, the dimensions come into conflict. This also excludes the possibility of the existence of a “perfect” democracy. Would the country like to be a libertarian or egalitarian democracy? Both strengths and weaknesses are tied to this decision, and within the group of democracies, particular distinguishing characteristics or, in other words, democracy profiles can be identified. This allows fundamental questions regarding democracy profiles to be investigated from a comparative perspective. Thus, we can, for instance, examine whether the principle of political freedom is more strongly emphasised for the political system in Great Britain than in Germany. More can be read here on what trade-offs are and how they can be measured within the democracy matrix.

Study the World of Autocracies and Democracies

On our home page, you have the opportunity to conduct your own investigations with the help of the democracy matrix, by using the wide variety of offerings of our online analysis. For profile comparison and quality measurement, there is the possibility of matrix representation and of a radar chart; for temporal comparison, there is the country and variable graph. The online analysis can be started here.

Contact

Democracy Matrix Research Project

Chair of Comparative Politics and German Government

Institute of Political Science and Sociology

Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

Wittelsbacherplatz 1

97074 Würzburg