Regime types and regime change: A new dataset on democracy, coups, and political institutions

  • Christian BjørnskovEmail author
  • Martin RodeEmail author
Data Article


Social scientists have created a variety of datasets in recent years that quantify political regimes, but these often provide little data on phases of regime transitions. Our aim is to contribute to filling this gap, by providing an update and expansion of the Democracy-Dictatorship data by Cheibub et al. (Public Choice, 143, 67–101, 2010), originally introduced by Alvarez et al. (Studies in Comparative International Development, 31(2), 3–36, 1996), where we add the following three features: First, we expand coverage to a total of 192 sovereign countries and 16 currently self-governing territories between 1950 and 2018, including periods under colonial rule for more than ninety entities. Second, we provide more institutional details that are deemed of importance in the relevant literature. Third, we include a new, self-created indicator of successful and failed coups d’état, which is currently the most complete of its kind. We further illustrate the usefulness of the new dataset by documenting the importance of political institutions under colonial rule for democratic development after independence, making use of our much more detailed data on colonial institutions. Findings indicate that more participatory colonial institutions have a positive and lasting effect for democratic development after transition to independence.


Political regimes Regime transitions Measurement; colonialism 

JEL codes

C82 F54 N40 P16 P50 Y1 



We thank Greta Piktozyte for excellent research assistance, Andrew Blick and the House of Lords Information Office for kind assistance with the data, and Roger Congleton, Tommy Krieger, and three anonymous referees for helpful comments on earlier versions of the paper.

Supplementary material

11558_2019_9345_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (172 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 171 kb) (213 kb)
ESM 2 (ZIP 212 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsAarhus UniversityAarhus VDenmark
  2. 2.Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)StockholmSweden
  3. 3.Departamento de EconomíaUniversidad de NavarraPamplonaSpain

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