The Level of Democracy During Interregnum Periods: Recoding the polity2 Score
Political Analysis, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 206-226, 2010
39 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2007 Last revised: 13 Jun 2010
Date Written: October 1, 2009
The polity2 variable from the Polity IV project is the most popular measure of a country’s political regime. This article contends that the coding rules employed to create a polity2 score during years of so-called interregnum and affected transitions produce a measure of democracy that lacks face validity. Using both single and multiple imputation methods, we construct and evaluate several variables that offer alternative measures to polity2 during such periods. We recommend that scholars using polity2 test whether their results are robust to using our alternatives and using multiple imputation techniques instead. Where robustness cannot be established, scholars need to theoretically justify the choice of either polity2 or one of the alternatives.
Keywords: democracy, interregnum, transition, state failure, anarchy, civil war
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