Freedom in the World
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''Freedom in the World'' is a yearly survey and report by the U.S.-based
non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience at the launch of the "Europe in a suitcase" project by two NGOs (the EGI and the Friedrich Naumann Fo ...
Freedom House Freedom House is a U.S.-based, U.S. government-funded non-profit non-governmental organization File:Europe in a suitcase - UK.jpg, upright=1.3, alt=A roomful of people, Europe-Georgia Institute head George Melashvili addresses the audience a ...
that measures the degree of
civil liberties Civil liberties are guarantees and freedoms that governments commit not to abridge, either by constitution, legislation Legislation is law which has been promulgation, promulgated (or "enactment of a bill, enacted") by a legislature or other Gover ...
and
political rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' political freedom, freedom from infringement by governments, social organizations, and private individuals. They ensure one's entitlement to participate in the civil and p ...
in every nation and significant related and disputed territories around the world.


Origin and use

''Freedom in the World'' was launched in 1973 by
Raymond GastilRaymond Duncan Gastil (December 19, 1931 – December 14, 2010) was an American social scientist, best known for evaluating political freedom in the ''Freedom in the World'' reports published by Freedom House". Biography Gastil received his BA (so ...
. It produces annual scores representing the levels of political rights and civil liberties in each state and territory, on a scale from 1 (most free) to 7 (least free). Depending on the ratings, the nations are then classified as "Free", "Partly Free", or "Not Free". The report is often used by researchers in order to measure democracy and correlates highly with several other measures of democracy such as the
Polity data series Image:Number of nations 1800-2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale.png, 350px, Number of nations 1800–2003 scoring 8 or higher on the Polity IV scale, a measure of democracy. The Polity data series is a widely used data set, data seri ...
. The Freedom House rankings are widely reported in the media and used as sources by political researchers. Their construction and use has been evaluated by critics and supporters.


Country rankings

The rankings are from the ''Freedom in the World'' 2015,''Freedom in the World 2015''
Freedom House, 28 January 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021, surveys, each report covering the previous year. The average of each pair of ratings on political rights and civil liberties determines the overall status of "Free" (1.0–2.5), "Partly Free" (3.0–5.0), or "Not Free" (5.5–7.0)."Freedom in the World 2010: Methodology"
''Freedom in the World 2010'', Freedom house
An asterisk (*) indicates countries which are "
electoral democracies An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold Public administration, public office.liberal democracy Liberal democracy, also referred to as Western democracy, is the combination of a liberal Liberal or liberalism may refer to: Politics *a supporter of liberalism, a political and moral philosophy **Liberalism by country *an adherent of a Li ...
" in that the latter also implies the presence of a substantial array of civil liberties. In the survey, all Free countries qualify as both electoral and liberal democracies. By contrast, some Partly Free countries qualify as electoral, but not liberal, democracies.


World

* indicates "Civil liberties in COUNTRY or TERRITORY" or "Human rights in COUNTRY or TERRITORY" links.


Territories and countries with limited recognition


Trends

According to Freedom House, a quarter of all declines of freedom in the world in 2016 took place in Europe. Percentage of countries in each category, from the 1973 through 2021 reports: Sources: Country Status and ratings overview 1973–2016, Number and percentages of electoral democracies 1989–2016, ''Freedom in the World 2018'' report covering 2017. Notes: * The years shown in the map and table above are the year the survey was released, the data shown covers the prior calendar year. * The chart and table above do ''not'' include data for related/disputed territories.


Evaluation

There is some debate over the neutrality of Freedom House and the methodology used for the ''Freedom in the World'' report, which has been written by Raymond D. Gastil and his colleagues. Bollen, K.A.
"Political Rights and Political Liberties in Nations: An Evaluation of Human Rights Measures, 1950 to 1984"
''Human Rights Quarterly'', vol. 8, no. 4 (November 1986), pp.567–591. Also in: Jabine, T.B. and Pierre Claude, R. (Eds.)
''Human Rights and Statistics''
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992, pp. 188–215, .
The neutrality and biases of human-rights indices have been discussed in several publications by Kenneth A. Bollen. Bollen wrote that "Considered together these criticisms suggest that some nations may have been incorrectly rated on Gastil's measures. However, none of the criticisms have demonstrated a systematic bias in all the ratings. Most of the evidence consists of anecdotal evidence of relatively few cases. Whether there is a systematic or sporadic slant in Gastil's ratings is an open question" (Bollen, 1986, p. 586). The freedom index of ''Freedom in the World'' has a very strong and positive (at least an 80%)
correlation In statistics Statistics is the discipline that concerns the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. In applying statistics to a scientific, industrial, or social problem, it is conventional to begin wi ...

correlation
with three other democracy-indices studied in Mainwaring (2001, p. 53).


Ideological bias or neutrality

In his 1986 study, Bollen discussed reviews of measurements of
human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Th ...
, including the index reported in ''Freedom in the World'' (Bollen, 1986, p. 585). Criticisms of ''Freedom in the World'' during the 1980s were discussed by Gastil (1990), who stated that "generally such criticism is based on opinions about Freedom House rather than detailed examination of survey ratings", a conclusion disputed by Giannone. The definition of Freedom in Gastil (1982) and Freedom House (1990) emphasized liberties rather than the exercise of freedom, according to
Adam Przeworski Adam Przeworski (; born May 5, 1940) is a Polish-American professor of political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, pol ...
, who gave the following example: In the United States, citizens are free to form political parties and to vote, yet even in presidential elections only half of U.S. "citizens" vote; in the U.S., "the same two parties speak in a commercially sponsored unison", wrote . More recent charges of ideological bias prompted Freedom House to issue this 2010 statement:
Freedom House does not maintain a culture-bound view of freedom. The methodology of the survey is grounded in basic standards of political rights and civil liberties, derived in large measure from relevant portions of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six pri ...
. These standards apply to all countries and territories, irrespective of geographical location, ethnic or religious composition, or level of economic development.
Mainwaring et alia (2001, p. 52) wrote that Freedom House's index had "two systematic biases: scores for leftist were tainted by political considerations, and changes in scores are sometimes driven by changes in their criteria rather than changes in real conditions." Nonetheless, when evaluated in Latin American countries yearly, Freedom House's index was very strongly and positively correlated with the index of
Adam Przeworski Adam Przeworski (; born May 5, 1940) is a Polish-American professor of political science Political science is the scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the analysis of politics, pol ...
and with the index of the authors themselves: They evaluated Pearson's coefficient of linear correlation between their index and Freedom House's index, which was 0.82; among these indices and the two others studied, the correlations were all between 0.80 and 0.86 (Mainwaring et alia, 2001, p. 53). As previously quoted, Bollen criticized previous studies of ''Freedom in the World'' as anecdotal and inconclusive; they raised issues needing further study by scientific methods rather than anecdotes. Bollen studied the question of ideological bias using
multivariate statistics Multivariate statistics is a subdivision of statistics encompassing the simultaneous observation and analysis of more than one outcome variable. Multivariate statistics concerns understanding the different aims and background of each of the differ ...
. Using their factor-analytic
model In general, a model is an informative representation of an object, person or system. The term originally denoted the plans of a building in late 16th-century English, and derived via French and Italian ultimately from Latin ''modulus'', a measure. ...
for human-rights measurements, Bollen and Paxton estimate that Gastil's method produces a bias of -0.38  standard deviations (s.d.) against Marxist–Leninist countries and a larger bias, +0.5 s.d., favoring Christian countries; similar results held for the methodology of Sussman (Bollen and Paxton, 2000, p. 585).Bollen, Kenneth A. and Paxton, Pamela
"Subjective Measures of Liberal Democracy"
''Comparative Political Studies'', vol. 33, no. 1 (February 2000), pp. 58–86
In contrast, another method by a critic of ''Freedom in the World'' produced a bias for Leftist countries during the 1980s of at least +0.8 s.d., a bias that is "consistent with the general finding that political scientists are more favorable to leftist politics than is the general population" (Bollen and Paxton, p. 585).


Use and conceptual analysis

Criticisms of the reception and uses of the ''Freedom in the World'' report have been noted by Diego Giannone: Giannone, Diego, "Political and ideological aspects in the measurement of democracy: the Freedom House case", ''Democratization'', vol. 17, no. 1 (February 2010), pp. 68–97. * "Conceptual stretching", Giovanni Sartori's critical term for a methodological shortcoming common in social studies. Giannone reports as an example that, according to Landman and Hausermann (2003), "the index by FH has been used as a tool for measuring democracy, good governance, and human rights, thus producing a conceptual stretching which is a major cause of 'losses in connotative precision': in short, an instrument used to measure everything, in the end, is not able to discriminate against anything." * Issues with aggregation. Giannone quotes Scoble and Wiseberg's conclusion (1981) that "the sum of a civil liberty score of 4 and a political liberty score of 2 is the same as the sum of a civil liberty score of 2 and a political liberty score of 4 even though the substantive interpretation of these different combinations is different."Scoble, Harry and Laurie Wiseberg, Ved Nanda, Ved, James Scarritt, and George Shepherd (eds) (1981), "Problems of Comparative Research in Human Rights", ''Global Human Rights: Public Policies, Comparative Measures and NGO Strategies'', pp. 147–171, Westview Press, Boulder, CO, . Cited in Giannone (2010), p. 69. * "Lack of specificity and rigorousness in construction" and "inadequate level of transparency and replicability of the scales", the first referencing to Scoble ''et alie'' (1981) and the latter to Hadenius and Teorell (2005).Giannone (2010), p. 69, citing Scoble, et al. (1981) and Axel Hadenius and Jan Teorell
"Assessing Alternative Indices of Democracy"
Political Concepts, Committee on Concepts and Methods, Working Paper Series, August 2005, 47 pp.
In support of the latter, he also quotes the conclusion of Munck and Verkuilen (2002) that "the aggregate data offered by Freedom House has to be accepted largely on faith",Munck, Gerardo L. and Verkuilen, Jay
CPS 2002.pdf "Conceptualising and Measuring Democracy: Evaluating Alternative Indices"
, ''Comparative Political Studies'', vol. 35, no. 1 (February 2002), pp. 5–34. Cited in Giannone (2010), p. 69.
due to the factors that "no set of coding rules is provided, and the sources of information are not identified with enough precision, and because disaggregated data have not been made available to independent scholars".


Time series

In "Political and ideological aspects in the measurement of democracy: the Freedom House case" (2010) which reviewed changes to the methodology since 1990, Diego Giannone concluded that "because of the changes in methodology over time and the strict interconnection between methodological and political aspects, the FH data do not offer an unbroken and politically neutral time series, such that they should not be used for cross-time analyses even for the development of first hypotheses. The internal consistency of the data series is open to question."Giannone (2010), p. 68. On this topic, the Freedom House website replies that they have "made a number of modest methodological changes to adapt to evolving ideas about political rights and civil liberties. At the same time, the time series data are not revised retroactively, and any changes to the methodology are introduced incrementally in order to ensure the comparability of the ratings from year to year."


See also

* Freedom in the World by region * Democracy Ranking * Democracy-Dictatorship Index * List of indices of freedom * Index of Freedom in the World * Freedom of the Press (report), ''Freedom of the Press'' report *
Polity data series Image:Number of nations 1800-2003 scoring 8 or higher on Polity IV scale.png, 350px, Number of nations 1800–2003 scoring 8 or higher on the Polity IV scale, a measure of democracy. The Polity data series is a widely used data set, data seri ...
* Democracy in the Middle East


Notes


References

* * * * * Individuals can download the complete report (pdf format) for private use.


External links


''Freedom in the World 2021''
- online at Freedom House
''Freedom in the World 2020''
- online at Freedom House
''Freedom in the World 2019''
- online at Freedom House
''Freedom in the World 2018''
- online at Freedom House
''Freedom in the World 2017''
- online at Freedom House
''Freedom in the World 2016''
- online at Freedom House
''Freedom in the World 2015''
- online at Freedom House
''Freedom in the World 2014''
- online at Freedom House
''Freedom in the World 2013''
- online at Freedom House {{DEFAULTSORT:Freedom in the World (Report) Human rights International rankings no:Freedom in the World tr:Freedom House Dünya Özgürlük Raporu vi:Tự do chính trị