Beyond Democracy-Dictatorship Measures: A New Framework Capturing Executive Bases of Power, 1789-2016

Beyond Democracy-Dictatorship Measures: A New Framework Capturing Executive Bases of Power, 1789-2016

by Jan Teorell, Lund University and Staffan I. Lindberg, University of Gothenburg

We attempt to integrate the literatures on authoritarian regime types and democratic forms of government. We propose a theoretical framework of five dimensions of executive appointment and dismissal that can be applied in both more democratic and more authoritarian regimes: the hereditary, military, ruling party, direct election, and confidence dimensions, respectively. Relying on the Varieties of Democracy data, we provide measures of these five dimensions for 3,937 individual heads of state and 2,874 heads of government from 192 countries across the globe from 1789 to the present. After presenting descriptive evidence of their prevalence, variation, and relationship to extant regime typologies, a set of exploratory probes gauge the extent to which the five dimensions can predict levels of repression, corruption, and executive survival, controlling for aspects of democracy. This leads to generation of a set of original hypotheses that we hope can serve as building blocks for explanatory theory. We conclude by discussing some limitations of these novel data.

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Perspectives on PoliticsVolume 17Issue 1, March 2019 , pp. 66-84

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