Political Regimes over time (1816 – 2015)

The Polity IV score classifies the type of political regime for each country on a range from -10 (full autocracy) to +10 (full democracy). Regimes that fall into the middle of this spectrum are called anocracies.

Political Regimes over time

An anocracy is a government regime featuring inherent qualities of political instability and ineffectiveness, as well as an “incoherent mix of democratic and autocratic traits and practices.” These regime types are particularly susceptible to outbreaks of armed conflict and unexpected or adverse changes in leadership. Despite its popular usage, anocracy lacks a precise definition. Anocratic regimes are also loosely defined as part democracy and part dictatorship, or as a “regime that mixes democratic with autocratic features”. Another definition classifies anocracy as “a regime that permits some means of participation through opposition group behavior but that has incomplete development of mechanisms to redress grievances”. Scholars have also distinguished anocracies from autocracies and democracies in their capability to maintain authority, political dynamics, and policy agendas. Similarly, these regime types have democratic institutions that allow for nominal amounts of competition.

The operational definition of anocracy is extensively used by scholars Monty G. Marshall and Benjamin R. Cole at the Center for Systemic Peace and gains most of its dissemination through the polity data series. The data set aims to measure democracy in different states, and retains anocracy as one of its classification methods for regime type. The data series scores regimes on executive recruitment, on constraints on executive authority, and on political competition. The 21-point sliding scale ranges from -10 to +10, where -10 corresponds to hereditary monarchy and +10 to consolidated democracy. Anocracies are regimes that receive a score between -5 and +5, as well as the special values of -66, -77, and -88, which correspond to cases of foreign interruption, interregnum, and transition regimes. The data set further sorts anocractic regimes into “closed anocracies” (-5 to 0) and “open anocracies” (1 to 5). Consequently, anocracy frequently appears in democratization literature that utilizes the polity-data set. In a closed anocracy, competitors are drawn from the élite. In an open anocracy, others compete too.

The number of anocratic regimes has steadily increased over time, with the most notable jump occurring after the end of the Cold War. During the period from 1989 to 2013, the number of anocracies increased from 30 to 53 (Wikipedia.org).

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