Openness of executive recruitment score

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What you should know about this indicator

Indicator name: xropen

Openness of Executive Recruitment: Recruitment of the chief executive is "open" to the extent that all the politically active population has an opportunity, in principle, to attain the position through a regularized process. If power transfers are coded Unregulated (1) in the Regulation of Executive Recruitment (variable 3.1), or involve a transition to/from Unregulated, Openness is coded 0. Four categories are used:

(1) Closed: Chief executives are determined byhereditary succession, e.g. kings, emperors,beys, emirs, etc. who assume executive powers by right of descent. An executive selectedby other means may proclaim himself a monarch but the polity he governs is notcoded "closed" unless a relative actually succeeds him as ruler.

(2) Dual Executive–Designation: Hereditary succession plus executive or court selection of an effective chief minister

(3) Dual Executive–Election: Hereditary succession plus electoral selection of an effective chief minister.

(4) Open: Chief executives are chosen by elite designation, competitive election, or transitional arrangements between designation and election.

Some examples may clarify the coding scheme outlined above. The Soviet Union's (XRREG/XRCOMP/XROPEN) profile on these variables, since the accession of Khrushchev, is Designational/Selection/Open. Victorian Britain's profile was Regulated/Transitional/Dual Executive–Election, whereas contemporaryBritain, along with other modern democracies, is coded Regulated/Election/Open. The polities of leaders who seize power by force are coded Unregulated, but there is a recurring impulse among such leaders to regularize the process of succession, usually by relying on some form of selection. A less common variant, as in modern Iran and Nicaragua under the Somozas, is one in which a Caesaristic leader attempts to establish the principle of hereditary succession. Polity codes all such attempts at regularizing succession as Transitional (under Regulation, variable 3.1) until the first chief executive chosen under the new rules takes office.

A translation of the conceptualizations of executive recruitment used in Polity IV and Polity5 into the component coding scheme outlined above is presented in Table 3.1 (see page 23 of codebook).

Openness of executive recruitment score
Indicates the extent to which recruitment for the executive is open. It ranges from executive power being seized (score of 0), over hereditary succession (score of 1), dual hereditary-open arrangements with the chief minister designated (score of 2), and dual hereditary-open arrangements with the chief minister being elected (score of 3), to executive recruitment being open (score of 4).
Polity 5 (2020) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 13, 2024
Next expected update
May 2025
Date range

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The Polity5 project continues the Polity research tradition of coding the authority characteristics of states in the world system for purposes of comparative, quantitative analysis. The original Polity conceptual scheme was formulated and the initial Polity I data collected under the direction of Ted Robert Gurr and informed by foundational, collaborative work with Harry Eckstein, Patterns of Authority: A Structural Basis for Political Inquiry (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1975). The Polity project has proven its value to researchers over the years, becoming the most widely used resource for monitoring regime change and studying the effects of regime authority. The Polity project evolved through three earlier research phases, all under the direction of Ted Gurr. The Polity III phase updated core Polity data through 1992 and was later updated through 1998 and released as the Polity98 version. Through its evolution, the format of the Polity data has been transformed from its original focus on “persistence and change” in the “polity” as the unit of analysis (i.e., politycase format) to its present country-year case format. The original Polity I format was revisited by a research team under the direction of Nils Petter Gleditsch and information concerning the dates of coded polity changes was updated in 1994 and made available in the original polity-case format as Polity IIId. In the late 1990s, Polity became a core data project in the State Failure Task Force global forecasting project. The special focus on “state failure” problem events within a general context of societal and systemic development processes requires information pertinent to both Polity foci, state continuity and change (country-year format) and regime persistence and change (polity-case format), be combined in a single data resource base. The Polity IV combined format version was instituted with the 2000 data update.

Retrieved on
May 13, 2024
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
Marshall, Monty G. and Ted Robert Gurr. 2020. Polity 5: Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800-2018. Center for Systemic Peace.

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Values -66, -77 and -88 are recoded as missing (NAs), as per the rules on page 17 of the Polity 5 codebook.

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“Data Page: Openness of executive recruitment score”, part of the following publication: Bastian Herre, Lucas Rodés-Guirao, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser (2013) - “Democracy”. Data adapted from Polity 5. Retrieved from [online resource]
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Polity 5 (2020) – processed by Our World in Data

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Polity 5 (2020) – processed by Our World in Data. “Openness of executive recruitment score” [dataset]. Polity 5, “Polity5 Project, Political Regime Characteristics and Transitions, 1800-2018 5” [original data]. Retrieved July 13, 2024 from