Audits worldwide


(Credit: woodleywonderworks, CC by 2.0)

Development of the Democratic Audit Framework

Democratic Audit first developed the framework for use in the UK. The Audit’s pioneering work on democratic auditing has since been developed through the inter-governmental body, International IDEA (Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance), Stockholm.  With IDEA’s support, we re-designed and expanded the framework to create a universal tool for assessing the condition of democracy in any country in the world. An international panel of experts agreed the framework after exhaustive discussion and International IDEA published a full guide to the assessment framework in 2002:The International IDEA Handbook on Democracy Assessment (David Beetham et al, IDEA/Kluwer Law International). The Handbook describes the whole process of taking on a democratic audit. We used the full framework for the 2002 Audit of the UK, Democracy under Blair.

From 2002 to 2004, a team drawn from Democratic Audit and the Centre for Democratisation Studies, University of Leeds, worked with IDEA to pilot the framework in eight countries around the world. These countries were: Bangladesh, El Salvador, Italy, Kenya, South Korea, Malawi, New Zealand and Peru. A comparative guide to the eight pilot democracy assessments sponsored by IDEA was also published in 2002: The State of Democracy: Democracy Assessments in Eight Nations Around the World (David Beetham et al, IDEA/Kluwer Law International, 2002).

The democracy assessment framework has also been adapted for the UK Department for International Development to build democratic arrangements and human rights – including economic and social rights – in development programmes aimed at providing pro-poor services and empowering marginalised communities.

Democratic Audits around the World

In addition to the eight pilot assessments carried out from 2002–04, the Audit methodology has been applied in at least 15 democracies, including Australia, Austria, Ireland, Latvia, the Philippines and South Africa. A similar approach has also been adopted by the Democratic Audits of Canada, Russia and Sweden – although the Audits in these countries do not use the IDEA framework. In addition, a number of large-scale national ‘power and democracy’ studies have also been conducted in recent years, notably in the Scandinavian countries.

Basic details about all the democracy assessments we are aware of, with links to relevant information, are provided in the list of democracy assessments below.

Democratic Audits in Comparative Perspective: A Workshop

A workshop on ‘Democratic Audits in Comparative Perspective: Approaches, Results, Impact’ was held at Leiden University, the Netherlands from January 18-19, 2013. The event was organised by Rudy Andeweg (Leiden University) and Jacques Thomassen (University of Twente) and funded by the Dutch Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The papers presented at this workshop examined the approaches, key findings and the impact of democracy audits undertake in five countries. Additional papers considered democratic deficits from a comparative perspective (drawing on the findings of various national audits) and also the experience of adapting democratic auditing for the purpose of studying decision-making in the European Union.


David Beetham Problems in Identifying a “Democratic Deficit” DOWNLOAD  (PDF)
Christopher Lord Democratic Auditing of the European Union: Past and Future DOWNLOAD  (PDF)
Clodagh Harris Power to the People? Assessing Democracy in Ireland – The Irish Democratic Audit DOWNLOAD (PDF)
Olof Petersson The Democratic Audit of Sweden, 1995-2011 DOWNLOAD (PDF) 
Stuart Wilks-Heeg The Democratic Audit of the UK: Origins, Approach, Findings and Impact  DOWNLOAD (PDF) 
Marian Sawer Health Check for an Old Democracy: The Democratic Audit of Australia DOWNLOAD (PDF)
Bill Cross The Canadian Democratic Audit DOWNLOAD (PDF)
Jacques Thomassen and Rudy Andeweg The Democratic Audit of the Netherlands: Its Approach, Criteria, Results and Impact DOWNLOAD (PDF)

List of democracy assessments around the world


Democracy Audits/State of Democracy Assessments
Australia Australia: The State of Democracy 2009 M. Sawer et al.
Latvia How democratic is Latvia? Audit of Democracy 2005 J. Rozenvalds (ed)
Mongolia Democratic Governance Indicators: Assessing the State of Governance in Mongolia 2006 H. Hulan (ed)
Netherlands The State of our DemocracyDemocratie doorgelicht (‘Democracy vetted‘)** 2006–2011 Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom RelationsAndwerweg and Thomasson (eds.)
Philippines Various ongoing E. Co et al.
UK Democracy under Blair: A Democratic Audit of the UK 2003 D.Beetham et al.
Bosnia Democracy Assessment in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2006 S. Dizdarevic et al.
Ecuador Andean Democratic Audit 2008 M. Briones et al.
India Citizens’ Report on Governance and Development 2009 Social  Watch India
Ireland Power to the People? Assessing Democracy in Ireland 2007 TASC
Mexico State of Democracy in Mexico 2009 G. Emmerich et al
Nepal Nepal in Transition – A Study on the State of Democracy 2008 K.  Hachhethu et al
Northern Ireland Power to the People? Assessing Democracy in Northern Ireland 2007 TASC
Portugal The Quality of Portuguese Democracy under the European Union ? J. Magone
** The 2011 Dutch Audit did not use the IDEA framework, but is included here alongside the 2006 Dutch Audit for ease of reference.IDEA Pilot studies
Bangladesh State of Democracy in Bangladesh 2002 D. Barman et al.
El Salvador Country Report Republica de El Salvador 2000 F. Ulloa et al.
Italy Democracy Report for Italy 2000 L. Morlino et al.
Kenya Democracy Report for Jamhuri Ya Kenya 2000 N. Ng’ethe et al.
Malawi Democracy Report for Malawi 2000 W. Chirwa et al.
New Zealand Democracy in New Zealand 2002 J. Henderson
Peru Democracy Report for Peru 2000 R. Cobian et al.
South Korea Democracy Report for South Korea 2000 C. Moon et al.
Regional Studies
Central Asia State of Democracy in Central Asia: A Comparative Study 2006 T. Landman et al.
South Asia State of Democracy in South Asia 2008 CSDS


Alternative or Similar Approach to IDEA
Canada Canada Today: A Democratic Audit 2004-2006 2006 Various (by vol.)
Russia Democratic Audit of Russia TBC I. Yakovenko
Slovakia Slovakia 2009. Trends in Quality of Democracy 2009 M. Butora et al.
Sweden Various reports (details in Swedish or in English) 1995-2011 SNS
“State of Democracy” Reports
Austria Zur Qualitat der britischen und osterreichischen demokratie 2003 E. Beck et al.
Costa Rica Citizen’s Audit on the Quality of Democracy 2001 ?
Denmark An Analysis of Democracy and Power in Denmark 2003 Jørgensen & Vrangbæk
Montenegro Democracy Index 2009 M. Besic et al.
Norway Norwegian Power and Democracy Project (1998–2003) 2004 O.  Østerud et al.
Regional Studies
Africa Various ongoing AfriMap
European Union A Democratic Audit of the EU (One Europe or Several?) 2004 C. Lord
Latin America Various LAPOP
List of Audits worldwide compiled by Raminder Samrai