Decline of Democracy: Loss of Quality, Hybridisation and Breakdown of Democracy

  • Gero Erdmann


The contribution points out that there is hardly any research for the reverse transition, the transition from democracy to non-democratic regimes for more than 30 years. For heuristical purposes, it provides basic data of the decline of democracy, which refers to loss of democratic quality, changes from liberal democracy to hybrid and to authoritarian regimes, during the third wave of democratisation (1974-2008). The stocktaking shows that most of the cases of decline refer to the change in and from young democracies established during the third wave, especially after 1989. Loss of democratic quality and hybridization are the most frequent cases of decline, while the breakdown of democracy has been very rare. Young democracies and poorer countries are more prone to decline than the older and richer cases – aside from a few remarkable exceptions. Finally, the overview argues that the research on the decline of democracy can benefit from the richness of the approaches of transitology, but should also avoid its methodological traps and failures, concluding with a number of suggestions for the future research agenda.


Comparative International Development Democratic Regime Authoritarian Regime Qualitative Comparative Analysis Democratic Transition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  • Gero Erdmann

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