Launch of Unequal Democracies

Release: New studies and data on unequal voter trends since the 1970s and the representation gap in national parliaments!

In light of rising inflation, the repercussions of the pandemic and accelerating climate change, economic insecurities have multiplied and economic inequality continued to rise. This happened all the while more countreis are autocratising and liberal democracies are on the defense. The 2022 Democracy perception index finds that people perceive economic inequality - again - as the biggest threat to their democracies. These developments and asessments led us to launch Unequal Democracies - a project dedicated to push forward the public discourse on the role of inequality on democracy in the institutional policy debate in the OSCE region.

The first Unequal Democracies installment Who does (not) vote? presents an extensive overview of voter turnout trends in 29 countries of the OSCE region across four socio-economic parameters sicne the 1970s. We find that not only overall voter turnout has declined across countries, but that this decline has hppened unequally across social groups. Especially the young, lower social classes and people with low levels of education are the ones that increasingly refrain from participating in our democracies. It is alarming that these class voting differences are even more entrenchent among the young (under 30). Democracy promoters and policy makers should draw more attention to these trends and incoprorate the fight against inequality in their agenda to address declining democatic attitudes and statisfaction.

The second Unequal Demcoracies installement Who does (not) have a seat in parliament? looks at the national parliaments of United Kingdom, Spain, France, Poland and Turkey and their respective social composition of the current legislature covering the four parameters gender, education, age, and social class. We find that while the representation of women has increased over time representation is still wholly unequal. Young people and members of lower social classes are even much more underrepresented.

The release is accompanied with the launch of mulitple interactive maps and graphs that allow you to explore our data in detail.

Check out the new studies and data at https://democracy.fes.de/topics/inequality-democracy

Related Publications

Unequal democracies: who does (not) vote?

Elsässer, Lea; Schäfer, Armin; Wenker, Jonas

Unequal democracies: who does (not) vote?

Voter turnout trends in the OSCE region since 1970 : A translation of the German orginal "Wer geht (nicht) wählen?"
Wien, 2022

Download publication (580 KB, PDF-File)

Unequal democracies: who does (not) have a seat in parliament?

Elsässer, Lea; Schäfer, Armin

Unequal democracies: who does (not) have a seat in parliament?

The social composition of Parliaments in five OSCE countries : A translation of the German orginal "Wer sitzt (nicht) im Parlament?"
Vienna, 2022

Download publication (160 KB, PDF-File)