ECONOMIST DEMOCRACY INDEX – BANGLADESH A HYBRID REGIME 84TH ON THE LIST

THE ECONOMIST DEMOCRACY INDEX – BANGLADESH A HYBRID REGIME 84TH ON THE LIST

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide for 165 independent states and two territories. This covers almost the entire population of the world and the vast majority of the world’s states (microstates are excluded). The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Based on their scores on a range of indicators within these categories, each country is then itself classified as one of four types of regime: “full democracy”; “flawed democracy”; “hybrid regime”; and “authoritarian regime”.

The index values are used to place countries within one of four types of regime:

  1. Full democracies: scores of 8 o 10
  2. Flawed democracies: score of 6 to 7.9
  3. Hybrid regimes: scores of 4 to 5.9
  4.  Authoritarian regimes: scores below 4

Scores of a handful of countries

FULL DEMOCRACIES

Norway 9.93 – Uruguay 8.17

Sequence

Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, Denmark, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Finland, Austria, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Malta, United Kingdom, Spain, Mauritius, Uruguay

FLAWED DEMOCRACIES

Japan     Position 20   Score 7.99

USA                        21             7.98

Italy                        21             7.98

France                    24             7.92

South Korea          24             7.92

India                       32             7.81

Indonesia               48             6.97

Malaysia                 65             6.54

Singapore               70             6.38

 

HYBRID REGIMES

Sri Lanka          66      6.48

Bangladesh      84     5.73

Turkey              97      5.04

Nepal              102      4.86

Nigeria            109      4.50

Pakistan          111      4.33

Myanmar        113     4.20

 

AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES

Jordan         117    3.96

Kuwait         121    3.85

Egypt           133    3.31

China            136    3.14

UAE               147    2.75

Afghanistan 149    2.55

North Korea 167 1.08

 

 

Threshold points for regime types depend on overall scores that are rounded to one decimal point.

Full democracies: Countries in which not only basic political freedoms and civil liberties are respected, but which also tend to be underpinned by a political culture conducive to the flourishing of democracy. The functioning of government is satisfactory. Media are independent and diverse. There is an effective system of checks and balances. The judiciary is independent and judicial decisions are enforced. There are only limited problems in the functioning of democracies.

Flawed democracies: These countries also have free and fair elections and, even if there are

problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected. However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.

Hybrid regimes: Elections have substantial irregularities that often prevent them from being both free and fair. Government pressure on opposition parties and candidates may be common. Serious weaknesses are more prevalent than in flawed democracies—in political culture, functioning of government and political participation. Corruption tends to be widespread and the rule of law is weak.

Civil society is weak. Typically, there is harassment of and pressure on journalists, and the judiciary is not independent.

Authoritarian regimes:

In these states, state political pluralism is absent or heavily circumscribed.

Many countries in this category are outright dictatorships. Some formal institutions of democracy may exist, but these have little substance. Elections, if they do occur, are not free and fair. There is disregard for abuses and infringements of civil liberties. Media are typically state-owned or controlled by groups connected to the ruling regime. There is repression of criticism of the government and pervasive censorship. There is no independent judiciary.

 

The scoring system

 We use a combination of a dichotomous and a three-point scoring system for the 60 indicators. A

dichotomous 1-0 scoring system (1 for a yes and 0 for a no answer) is not without problems, but it has several distinct advantages over more refined scoring scales (such as the often-used 1-5 or 1-7).

For many indicators, the possibility of a 0.5 score is introduced, to capture “grey areas”, where a simple yes (1) or no (0) is problematic, with guidelines as to when that should be used. Consequently, for many indicators there is a three-point scoring system, which represents a compromise between simple dichotomous scoring and the use of finer scales.

The problems of 1-5 or 1-7 scoring scales are numerous. For most indicators under such systems, it is extremely difficult to define meaningful and comparable criteria or guidelines for each score.

This can lead to arbitrary, spurious and non-comparable scorings. For example, a score of 2 for one country may be scored a 3 in another, and so on. Alternatively, one expert might score an indicator for a particular country in a different way to another expert. This contravenes a basic principle of measurement, that of so-called reliability—the degree to which a measurement procedure produces the same measurements every time, regardless of who is performing it. Two- and three-point systems do not guarantee reliability, but make it more likely.

Second, comparability between indicator scores and aggregation into a multi-dimensional

index appears more valid with a two- or three-point scale for each indicator (the dimensions being aggregated are similar across indicators). By contrast, with a 1-5 system, the scores are more likely to mean different things across the indicators (for example, a 2 for one indicator may be more comparable to a 3 or 4 for another indicator). The problems of a 1-5 or 1-7 system are magnified when attempting to extend the index to many regions and countries.

 

Methodology

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracy, on a 0 to 10 scale, is based on the ratings for 60 indicators, grouped into five categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Each category has a rating on a 0 to 10 scale, and the overall Index is the simple average of the five category indexes.

 

The model

I Electoral process and pluralism

  1. Are elections for the national legislature and head of government free?

Consider whether elections are competitive in that electors are free to vote and are offered a range of choices.

1: Essentially unrestricted conditions for the presentation of candidates (for example, no bans on major parties).

0.5: There are some restrictions on the electoral process.

0: A single-party system or major impediments exist (for example, bans on a major party or

candidate).

  1. Are elections for the national legislature and head of government fair?

1: No major irregularities in the voting process.

0.5: Significant irregularities occur (intimidation, fraud), but do not significantly affect the overall outcome.

0: Major irregularities occur and affect the outcome.

Score 0 if score for question 1 is 0.

  1. Are municipal elections both free and fair?

1: Are free and fair.

0.5: Are free, but not fair.

0: Are neither free nor fair.

  1. Is there universal suffrage for all adults?

Bar generally accepted exclusions (for example, non-nationals; criminals; members of armed forces in some countries).

1: Yes.

0: No.

  1. Can citizens cast their vote free of significant threats to their security from state or non-state

bodies?

1: Yes.

0: No.

  1. Do laws provide for broadly equal campaigning opportunities?

1: Yes.

0.5: Formally, yes, but, in practice, opportunities are limited for some candidates.

0: No.

  1. Is the process of financing political parties transparent and generally accepted?

1: Yes.

0.5: Not fully transparent.

0: No.

  1. Following elections, are the constitutional mechanisms for the orderly transfer of power from one government to another clear, established and accepted?

1: All three criteria are satisfied.

0.5: Two of the three criteria are satisfied.

0: Only one or none of the criteria is satisfied.

  1. Are citizens free to form political parties that are independent of the government?
  2. Yes.

0.5: There are some restrictions.

0: No.

  1. Do opposition parties have a realistic prospect of achieving government?

1: Yes.

0.5: There is a dominant two-party system, in which other political forces never have any effective

chance of taking part in national government.

0: No.

  1. Is potential access to public office open to all citizens?

1: Yes.

0.5: Formally unrestricted, but, in practice, restricted for some groups, or for citizens from some

parts of the country.

0: No.

  1. Are citizens allowed to form political and civic organisations, free of state interference and

surveillance?

1: Yes.

0.5: Officially free, but subject to some unofficial restrictions or interference.

0: No.

II Functioning of government

  1. Do freely elected representatives determine government policy?

1: Yes.

0.5: Exercise some meaningful influence.

0: No.

  1. Is the legislature the supreme political body, with a clear supremacy over other branches of

government?

1: Yes.

0: No.

  1. Is there an effective system of checks and balances on the exercise of government authority?

1: Yes.

0.5: Yes, but there are some serious flaws.

0: No.

  1. Government is free of undue influence by the military or the security services.

1: Yes.

0.5: Influence is low, but the defence minister is not a civilian. If the current risk of a military coup

is extremely low, but the country has a recent history of military rule or coups.

0: No.

  1. Foreign powers and organisations do not determine important government functions or policies.

1: Yes.

0.5: Some features of a protectorate.

0: No (significant presence of foreign troops; important decisions taken by foreign power; country

is a protectorate).

  1. Do special economic, religious or other powerful domestic groups exercise significant political

power, parallel to democratic institutions?

1: Yes.

0.5: Exercise some meaningful influence.

0: No.

  1. Are sufficient mechanisms and institutions in place for ensuring government accountability to the

electorate in between elections?

1: Yes.

0.5. Yes, but serious flaws exist.

0: No.

  1. Does the government’s authority extend over the full territory of the country?

1: Yes.

0: No.

Is the functioning of government open and transparent, with sufficient public access to

information?

1: Yes.

0.5: Yes, but serious flaws exist.

0: No.

  1. How pervasive is corruption?

1: Corruption is not a major problem.

0.5: Corruption is a significant issue.

0: Pervasive corruption exists.

  1. Is the civil service willing to and capable of implementing government policy?

1: Yes.

0.5. Yes, but serious flaws exist.

0: No.

  1. Popular perceptions of the extent to which citizens have free choice and control over their lives.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of people who think that they have a great deal of choice/control.

1 if more than 70%.

0.5 if 50-70%.

0 if less than 50%.

  1. Public confidence in government.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

If available, from World Values Survey, Gallup polls, Eurobarometer, Latinobarometer

% of people who have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in government.

1 if more than 40%.

0.5 if 25-40%.

0 if less than 25%.

  1. Public confidence in political parties.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of people who have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence.

1 if more than 40%.

0.5 if 25-40%.

0 if less than 25%.

III Political participation

  1. Voter participation/turn-out for national elections.

(Average turnout in parliamentary elections since 2000. Turnout as proportion of population of

voting age.)

1 if above 70%.

0.5 if 50%-70%.

0 if below 50%.

If voting is obligatory, score 0. Score 0 if scores for questions 1 or 2 is 0.

  1. Do ethnic, religious and other minorities have a reasonable degree of autonomy and voice in the

political process?

1: Yes.

0.5: Yes, but serious flaws exist.

0: No.

  1. Women in parliament.

% of members of parliament who are women.

1 if more than 20% of seats.

0.5 if 10-20%.

0 if less than 10%.

  1. Extent of political participation. Membership of political parties and political non-governmental

organisations.

Score 1 if over 7% of population for either.

Score 0.5 if 4-7%.

Score 0 if under 4%.

If participation is forced, score 0.

  1. Citizens’ engagement with politics.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of people who are very or somewhat interested in politics.

1 if over 60%.

0.5 if 40-60%.

0 if less than 40%.

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  1. The preparedness of population to take part in lawful demonstrations.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of people who have taken part in or would consider attending lawful demonstrations.

1 if over 40%.

0.5 if 30-40%.

0 if less than 30%.

  1. Adult literacy.

1 if over 90%.

0.5 if 70-90%.

0 if less than 70%.

  1. Extent to which adult population shows an interest in and follows politics in the news.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of population that follows politics in the news media (print, TV or radio) every day.

1 if over 50%.

0.5 if 30-50%.

0 if less than 30%.

  1. The authorities make a serious effort to promote political participation.

1: Yes.

0.5: Some attempts.

0: No.

Consider the role of the education system, and other promotional efforts. Consider measures to

facilitate voting by members of the diaspora.

If participation is forced, score 0.

IV Democratic political culture

  1. Is there a sufficient degree of societal consensus and cohesion to underpin a stable, functioning

democracy?

1: Yes.

0.5: Yes, but some serious doubts and risks.

0: No.

  1. Perceptions of leadership; proportion of the population that desires a strong leader who bypasses

parliament and elections.

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1: Low.

0.5: Moderate.

0: High.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of people who think it would be good or fairly good to have a strong leader who does not bother

with parliament and elections.

1 if less than 30%.

0.5 if 30-50%.

0 if more than 50%.

  1. Perceptions of military rule; proportion of the population that would prefer military rule.

1: Low.

0.5: Moderate.

0: High.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of people who think it would be very or fairly good to have military rule.

1 if less than 10%.

0.5 if 10-30%.

0 if more than 30%.

  1. Perceptions of rule by experts or technocratic government; proportion of the population that

would prefer rule by experts or technocrats.

1: Low.

0.5: Moderate.

0: High.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of people who think it would be very or fairly good to have experts, not government, make

decisions for the country.

1 if less than 50%.

0.5 if 50-70%.

0 if more than 70%.

  1. Perception of democracy and public order; proportion of the population that believes that

democracies are not good at maintaining public order.

1: Low.

0.5: Moderate.

0: High.

If available, from World Values Survey

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% of people who disagree with the view that democracies are not good at maintaining order.

1 if more than 70%.

0.5 if 50-70%.

0 if less than 50%.

Alternatively, % of people who think that punishing criminals is an essential characteristic of

democracy.

1 if more than 80%.

0.5 if 60-80%.

0 if less than 60%.

  1. Perception of democracy and the economic system; proportion of the population that believes

that democracy benefits economic performance.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of people who disagree with the view that the economic system is badly run in democracies.

1 if more than 80%.

0.5 if 60-80%.

0 if less than 60%.

  1. Degree of popular support for democracy.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

If available, from World Values Survey

% of people who agree or strongly agree that democracy is better than any other form of government.

1 if more than 90%.

0.5 if 75-90%.

0 if less than 75%.

  1. There is a strong tradition of the separation of Church and State.

1: Yes.

0.5: Some residual influence of Church on State.

0: No.

V Civil liberties

  1. Is there a free electronic media?

1: Yes.

0.5: Pluralistic, but state-controlled media are heavily favoured. One or two private owners

dominate the media.

0: No.

  1. Is there a free print media?

1: Yes.

0.5: Pluralistic, but state-controlled media are heavily favoured. There is high degree of

concentration of private ownership of national newspapers.

0: No.

  1. Is there freedom of expression and protest (bar only generally accepted restrictions, such as

banning advocacy of violence)?

1: Yes.

0.5: Holders of minority viewpoints are subject to some official harassment. Libel laws heavily

restrict scope for free expression.

0: No.

  1. Is media coverage robust? Is there open and free discussion of public issues, with a reasonable

diversity of opinions?

1: Yes.

0.5: There is formal freedom, but a high degree of conformity of opinion, including through selfcensorship

or discouragement of minority or marginal views.

0: No.

  1. Are there political restrictions on access to the Internet?

1: No.

0.5: Some moderate restrictions.

0: Yes.

  1. Are citizens free to form professional organisations and trade unions?

1: Yes.

0.5: Officially free, but subject to some restrictions.

0: No.

  1. Do institutions provide citizens with the opportunity to petition government to redress

grievances?

1: Yes.

0.5: Some opportunities.

0: No.

  1. The use of torture by the state.

1: Torture is not used.

0: Torture is used.

  1. The degree to which the judiciary is independent of government influence.

Consider the views of international legal and judicial watchdogs. Have the courts ever issued an

important judgement against the government, or a senior government official?

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

  1. The degree of religious tolerance and freedom of religious expression.

Are all religions permitted to operate freely, or are some restricted? Is the right to worship permitted

both publicly and privately? Do some religious groups feel intimidated by others, even if the law

requires equality and protection?

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

  1. The degree to which citizens are treated equally under the law.

Consider whether favoured groups or individuals are spared prosecution under the law.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

  1. Do citizens enjoy basic security?

1: Yes.

0.5: Crime is so pervasive as to endanger security for large segments.

0: No.

  1. Extent to which private property rights are protected and private business is free from undue

government influence

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

  1. Extent to which citizens enjoy personal freedoms.

Consider gender equality, right to travel, choice of work and study.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

  1. Popular perceptions on protection of human rights; proportion of the population that think that

basic human rights are well-protected.

1: High.

0.5: Moderate.

0: Low.

If available, from World Values Survey:

% of people who think that human rights are respected in their country.

1 if more than 70%.

0.5 if 50-70%.

0 if less than 50%.

  1. There is no significant discrimination on the basis of people’s race, colour or religious beliefs.

1: Yes.

0.5: Yes, but some significant exceptions.

0: No.

  1. Extent to which the government invokes new risks and threats as an excuse for curbing civil

liberties.

1: Low.

0.5: Moderate.

0: High.

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