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BTI Transformation Insights

29 April 2020

Analysis and research on governance, political regimes and economic policies from the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI).


BTI 2020

Inequality and Repression Undermine Democracy and Market Economy Worldwide

Restricted freedom of expression, a gagged press or disempowered constitutional courts - as a rule, these are characteristics of autocracies. But the Bertelsmann Stiftung's latest Transformation Index shows that the rule of law and political freedoms are also being eroded in an increasing number of democracies. The main causes are abuse of power and cronyism, which increase economic inequality and contribute to social cleavages. The effects of the corona pandemic threaten to intensify these developments. read more


Vulnerability to Crisis

The Results of the BTI 2020 in the Context of COVID-19

In most of the 137 developing and transformation countries examined by the BTI 2020, COVID-19 will exacerbate the very weaknesses that have marked the negative balance of the last decade: a lack of rule of law, limited political rights, fiscal instability and rising social inequality. read more



BTI 2020 Reports

3 global reports on democracy, the economy and governance, 7 reports on regional trends, and 137 in-depth reports for developing and transformation countries shed light on the state of democracy, a market economy and governance from 2017 to 2019. read more


One Interactive Tool for All Our Data

The Transformation Atlas provides users easy access to all BTI data and analysis since 2004. The new Atlas makes sharing of graphics easier and lets you correlate data from the BTI and selected external sources instantly. open


Elections in Burundi

A New Leader in the Wings

Eyes are on Burundi’s election in May, which is a more open race after the current President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would not run for another term. But is a new leader likely to improve Burundi’s shaky track record on the quality of governance, human rights and its international relations? read more

Chinese-style Multilateralism

How China Is Expanding Beyond Western Institutions

The “Boao Forum for Asia”, the region’s answer to Davos, was slated for late March, but has been postponed amid the spread of COVID-19. But even as the coronavirus unsettles the global economy, China’s bid to reshape international relations beyond Western formats is quietly gathering steam. read more

Dictator's Endgames

Why Militaries Forsook Bouteflika and Al-Bashir, but Not Maduro

Massive peaceful protests are the ultimate endgame for autocrats: If all other means have failed, the incumbent’s political survival hinges on the loyalty of the military. In 2019, presidents in Algeria, Sudan, and Venezuela learned this the hard way. read more



God, Luck and Politics: A Brief History of Graft

Corruption is deeply embedded in Hungary, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán shielded by a cluster of wealthy bosses with close personal and political ties to the leader. read more


In Our next Newsletter

Transformation in Times of Covid-19

We will keep an eye at how the current global health crisis affects existing trends of repression, inequality and corruption worldwide. In one upcoming piece, Thomas Kalinowski analyzes how South Korea handled the spread of the Corona virus without a nationwide lockdown, and how the leadership will deal with the social and economic fallout of the pandemic.


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We are looking forward to your questions and suggestions:


Yannik John

Project Manager

Sustainable Social Market Economies


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