Electoral successes of populist politicians and parties in the past decade have posed challenges to both established and younger democracies.

How have these new political actors affected the quality of democracy? Do they dismantle the system of checks and balances underpinning democratic accountability, or do they revive democratic representation by bringing back citizens who have felt marginalized by mainstream parties and traditional democratic institutions?

The Global State of Democracy (GSoD) Indices provide a unique data set to study these questions. This GSoD In Focus shows how the Indices can be used to assess the impact of populism on democracy.


Publication date
14 February 2020
Number of pages


1. Introduction

2. Rise of populism

3. How do populists challenge democracy?

4. The impact of populism on democracy as measured by the GSoD Indices

5. Populism and democratic backsliding


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Populist government and democracy: An impact assessment using the Global State of Democracy Indices

GSoD In Focus No. 9
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