Polity Data: Persistence and Change in Political Systems, 1800-1971 (ICPSR 5010)

Published: Feb 16, 1992

Principal Investigator(s):
Ted Robert Gurr; Erika Gurr


Version V1

This data collection consists of coded descriptions of the political structures of 144 countries worldwide (428 polities) in the period 1800-1971. One of four distinct but related datasets developed by Robert Gurr and his associates at Princeton University and Northwestern University to test hypotheses about the causes of conflict within contemporary nations and the correlates of institutional change, this study probes why some political institutions perform well and persist in response to challenges and crises while others change abruptly. Operational conceptualization of the study is provided with the description of salient characteristics of political systems in terms of the dimensions of authority patterns. Included are indicators of dimensions of authority, such as the openness of recruitment, decision constraints, participation, directiveness, and complexity, the degree to which each polity was autocratic, democratic, and anocratic, and the dichotomous indicator of coherence of a polity as consistently democratic. Additional data provide information on the circumstances of the birth and death of a polity, including the character of the polity and reasons for its termination. Three related studies focus on civil conflicts in polities: CONFLICT AND SOCIETY (ICPSR 7452), CIVIL STRIFE EVENTS, 1955-1970 (ICPSR 7531), and CIVIL STRIFE CONFLICT MAGNITUDES, 1955-1970 (ICPSR 7485).

Gurr, Ted Robert, and Gurr, Erika. Polity Data:  Persistence and Change in Political Systems, 1800-1971. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1992-02-16. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR05010.v1

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Benin Papua New Guinea Angola Cambodia Sudan Paraguay Kazakhstan Portugal Syria North Korea Greece Latvia Iran Morocco Mali Panama Guatemala Iraq Chile Nepal Argentina Georgia (Republic) Ukraine Tanzania Zambia Ghana Northern Ireland India Canada Turkey Belgium Taiwan Finland South Africa Trinidad and Tobago Central African Republic Jamaica Peru Turkmenistan Germany Yemen Vietnam (Socialist Republic) Puerto Rico Hong Kong United States Guinea China (Peoples Republic) Somalia Chad Madagascar Ivory Coast Thailand Libya Costa Rica Sweden Malawi Poland Kuwait Jordan Nigeria Bulgaria Tunisia Sri Lanka Uruguay United Kingdom Kenya Switzerland Spain French Polynesia Lebanon Cuba Venezuela Liberia Czech Republic Mauritania Burkina Faso Israel Australia Soviet Union Tajikistan Estonia Myanmar Cameroon Cyprus Northern Mariana Islands Malaysia Iceland Global Gabon South Korea Austria Yugoslavia Mozambique El Salvador Luxembourg Brazil Algeria Slovenia Colombia Ecuador Hungary Japan Prussia Albania New Zealand Senegal Italy Honduras Ethiopia Haiti Afghanistan Burundi Singapore French Guiana Egypt Sierra Leone Bolivia Vatican City Russia Saudi Arabia Netherlands Pakistan Ireland Slovakia France Lithuania Kyrgyzstan Romania Togo Niger Philippines Rwanda Uzbekistan Nicaragua Norway Democratic Republic of Congo Denmark Dominican Republic Uganda Mexico Indonesia

1800 -- 1971

A total of 144 nations, most of which were members of the international system between 1817 and 1940.

(1) STATESMAN'S YEARBOOK, (2) ANNUAL REGISTER, (3) ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORLD HISTORY, (4) Banks, Arthur S., and Robert B. Textor. A CROSS POLITY SURVEY. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1963, and (5) Banks, Arthur S., and Robert B. Textor. CROSS POLITY SURVEY, 1963 (ICPSR 5004)

aggregate data




  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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