Forecasting Democratic Transitions and Breakdowns

56 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2012

Date Written: August 6, 2009


Under what conditions do democratic regimes arise, and what forces shape whether those regimes survive or fail? This report describes the methods and results of a statistical analysis undertaken by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for the Political Instability Task Force (PITF), an unclassified social-science research program funded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s Directorate of Intelligence. This analysis was designed to produce statistical models that could accomplish two goals at once: to identify countries most likely to transition to or from democracy in the next year or two with high accuracy, and, at the same time, to shed some light on the causes of those events.

Keywords: democracy, democratization, forecasting, coups

Suggested Citation

Ulfelder, Jay, Forecasting Democratic Transitions and Breakdowns (August 6, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

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