Political regime

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What you should know about this indicator

  • This indicator distinguishes between (electoral) democracies (score 1) and non-democracies (score 0).
  • Democracies are political systems in which political leaders are selected under broad suffrage in free and fair elections.

Indicator generated from democracy_omitteddata. This is the same measure as democracy, except it records an NA for countries occupied during an international war (e.g., the Netherlands 1940-44) or experiencing state collapse during a civil war (e.g., Lebanon 1976-89). The democracy variable instead fills in these years as continuations of the same regime type to avoid coding democratic transitions at the end of military occupations. Researchers who want to code this differently can fill in the NA values in democracy_omitteddata with 0.

Political regime
Identifies the political regime of a country using the classification by political scientists Carles Boix, Michael Miller, and Sebastian Rosato.
Boix-Miller-Rosato (2022) – with minor processing by Our World in Data
Last updated
March 7, 2024
Date range

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

This dataset covers all sovereign countries (including micro-states) from 1800 to 2020. Generally, we use United Nations membership to define when micro-states enter the data set. We thank Benjamin A.T. Graham and his students at USC (Valeria Flores-Cadena, Jiaming Shi, Affan Rahman, and Apurvi Bhartia) for providing their own democracy ratings and supporting information as part of a class project.

The authors argue that their measure’s distinguishing features—a concrete, dichotomous coding and a long time span—are of critical value to empirical work on democracy. Inspired by Robert Dahl, they define a country as democratic if it satisfies conditions for both contestation and participation. Specifically, democracies feature political leaders chosen through free and fair elections and satisfy a threshold value of suffrage.

Retrieved on
March 7, 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.
Carles Boix, Michael K. Miller, and Sebastian Rosato. 2013. “A Complete Data Set of
Political Regimes, 1800-2007.” Comparative Political Studies 46(12): 1523-54.

How we process data at Our World in Data

All data and visualizations on Our World in Data rely on data sourced from one or several original data providers. Preparing this original data involves several processing steps. Depending on the data, this can include standardizing country names and world region definitions, converting units, calculating derived indicators such as per capita measures, as well as adding or adapting metadata such as the name or the description given to an indicator.

At the link below you can find a detailed description of the structure of our data pipeline, including links to all the code used to prepare data across Our World in Data.

Read about our data pipeline
Notes on our processing step for this indicator

Old data for some countries has been imputed based on former countries:

- Colombia (1821 - 1830): Great Colombia (former)
- Costa Rica (1824 - 1837): Federal Republic of Central America (former)
- Czechia (1918 - 1992): Czechoslovakia
- Ecuador (1821 - 1829): Great Colombia (former)
- El Salvador (1824 - 1838): Federal Republic of Central America (former)
- Guatemala (1824 - 1838): Federal Republic of Central America (former)
- Honduras (1824 - 1838): Federal Republic of Central America (former)
- Nicaragua (1824 - 1837): Federal Republic of Central America (former)
- North Korea (1800 - 1910): Korea (former)
- Panama (1821 - 1830): Great Colombia (former)
- Slovakia (1918 - 1992): Czechoslovakia
- South Korea (1800 - 1910): Korea (former)
- Venezuela (1821 - 1829): Great Colombia (former)
- Russia (1922 - 1991): USSR
- Ethiopia (1952 - 1992): Ethiopia (former)
- Eritrea (1952 - 1992): Ethiopia (former)
- Pakistan (1947 - 1971): Pakistan (former)
- Bangladesh (1947 - 1970): Pakistan (former)

Reuse this work

  • All data produced by third-party providers and made available by Our World in Data are subject to the license terms from the original providers. Our work would not be possible without the data providers we rely on, so we ask you to always cite them appropriately (see below). This is crucial to allow data providers to continue doing their work, enhancing, maintaining and updating valuable data.
  • All data, visualizations, and code produced by Our World in Data are completely open access under the Creative Commons BY license. You have the permission to use, distribute, and reproduce these in any medium, provided the source and authors are credited.


How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Political regime”, part of the following publication: Bastian Herre, Lucas Rodés-Guirao, Esteban Ortiz-Ospina and Max Roser (2013) - “Democracy”. Data adapted from Boix-Miller-Rosato. Retrieved from [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

Boix-Miller-Rosato (2022) – with minor processing by Our World in Data

Full citation

Boix-Miller-Rosato (2022) – with minor processing by Our World in Data. “Political regime” [dataset]. Boix-Miller-Rosato, “Boix-Miller-Rosato (BMR) dichotomous coding of democracy (1800-2020) 4” [original data]. Retrieved July 21, 2024 from