Pandemic Backsliding: Democracy During COVID-19 (March 2020 to June 2021)

The Pandemic Backsliding Project tracks state responses to Covid-19 and their potential effect on the overall quality of democracy within the country. The current version of the data reflects the situation between March 2020 and June 2021.

The Pandemic Violations of Democratic Standards Index (PanDem) captures the extent to which state responses to Covid-19 violate democratic standards for emergency responses. The Pandemic Backsliding Index (PanBack) reflects the extent to which such responses pose a risk to the overall quality of democracy within the country. Combined, these two indices provide a snapshot of how emergency responses to Covid-19 may be affecting the quality of democracy within the country. They are not intended to estimate the level of democracy, which is instead captured using the V-Dem Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) in 2019.

Use the options below to compare the country-level scores for the Pandemic Violations of Democratic Standards Index (PanDem), the Pandemic Backsliding Index (PanBack), and the Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) in 144 countries.

The map displays the scores for the selected index. Numbers in parentheses indicate the change in score from the previous quarter to the selected quarter.
Additional country-level information is available below by clicking on the map.

Select a country from the map above for case-specific information.

The 'March 2020-June 2021' time period reflects the worst (maximum) violation observed across the time period. For the PanBack index, we use the mean of the coded time periods to indicate the average risk of backsliding during the pandemic.
For the full text of comments and the list of sources, please see our Github page.

The Pandemic Backsliding Project tracks state responses to the Covid-19 pandemic as illustrative of the varieties of emergency measures and their execution, addressing how these decisions affect short- and long-term prospects for the political regime and democracy.

Team and suggested citation

The Pandemic Backsliding Project is led by a team of four Principal Investigators - Amanda B. Edgell, Jean Lachapelle, Anna Lührmann, and Seraphine F. Maerz - and Research Coordinators Sandra Grahn and Palina Kolvani. We are based at the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-Dem) at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Suggested citation:
Edgell, Amanda B., Jean Lachapelle, Anna Lührmann, Seraphine F. Maerz, Sandra Grahn, Palina Kolvani, Ana Flavia Good God, Martin Lundstedt, Natalia Natsika, Shreeya Pillai, Paul Bederke, Milene Bruhn, Stefanie Kaiser, Cristina Schaver, Abdalhadi Alijla, Tiago Fernandes, Hans Tung, Matthew Wilson, and Staffan I. Lindberg. 2020. Pandemic Backsliding: Democracy During Covid-19 (PanDem), Version 6. Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute,


The Pandemic Backsliding Project bases its coding primarily upon data collection by a team of trained research assistants. The sources are documented at GitHub and include mainly official government sources, academic databases, trusted inter-governmental, state or independent organizations and trusted media outlets. In general one coder was assigned to one country, but for some observations two coders provided input and the principal investigators reconciled the information in cases of disagreement. Country experts, regional experts or the principal investigators have reviewed the coding that informs the Pandem-Index for most countries.

The full documentation of coding, data sources, and comments for each country and variable are accessible online at GitHub. Questions were designed in a way that facilitated the collection of factual information. Nevertheless, they involved some judgement on the side of coders. If in doubt, coders were instructed to consult with others and code something as less (rather than more) severe. This means that if our data errs, it errs on the side of under- rather than overreporting.

For more details see our codebook.


This research was financially supported by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are grateful to Abdalhadi Alijla, Tiago Fernandes, Hans Tung, Matthew Wilson and Nina Ilchenko as well as V-Dem country managers Ane Mary Tusingwire, Chung Nguyen, Cláudia Araújo, Dina Milovanovic, Iqbal Ahnaf, Janiel Hazle, Jessie Moritz, João Cancela, Johanna Peltoniemi, Jonas Lefevere, Jose Santana Pereira, Kalilou Sidibe, Kevin Mazur, Kharis Templeman, Kimlong Chheng, Mahamane Yahaya, Mantobaye Moundigbaye, Marijn Nagtzaam, Nwana Collins, Ozan Utku Cam, Sahadevan P., Stephen Kini, Paolo Sosa, Randrianja Solofo, Ravi Dutta, Sitara Noor, Tahir Kilavuz, Yi-ting Wang, and Yoshikuni Ono for their input on previous versions of the data collection. In April 2020, we conducted a pilot study and would like to thank Abdalhadi Alijla, Vanessa Alexandra Boese, Tiago Fernandes, Adea Gafuri, Dominik Hirndorf, Christopher Howell, Yuko Kasuya, Juraj Medzihorsky, Asma Shakir Khawaja, Carlos Shenga, Medet Tiulegenov for their input to the pilot version. We also would like to thank Laura Maxwell for the creation of this dashboard.