SP resources – Polity 2010 scores

Polity has recently updated its democracy/autocracy scores for 2010. The data set is available here.

The Polity scale goes from -10 (complete autocracy) to +10 (complete democracy). There were several changes from 2009 to 2010 in the overall (i.e. polity2) scores for semi-presidential countries:

Haiti declined from +5 to 0
Kyrgyzstan improved from +1 to +7
Niger improved from -3 to +3
Rwanda declined from -3 to -4
Sri Lanka declined from +6 to +4
Togo improved from -4 to -2
Ukraine declined from +7 to +6

Whether democracy has collapsed/emerged depends on where you draw the line between democracy and non-democracy on the Polity scale. There are various interpretation. One draws a dichotomous distinction between a democracy (+1 or more) and autocracy (0 or less). In this case, democracy in Haiti collapsed and in Niger it emerged. Another classification is the threefold distinction between autocracy (-10 to -6), anocracy (-5 to +5) and democracy (+6 or more). In this case, Kyrgyzstan has become a democracy and Sri Lanka has moved from a democracy to an anocracy.

Bear in mind that Polity does not include small countries in its list. Iceland and São Tomé and Príncipe, for example, are all excluded from Polity’s classifications. Interestingly, though, Cape Verde’s population is now big enough for it to be included. Therefore, it appears in the Polity dataset for the first time. The time series shows that Cape Verde became a democracy in 1991 with a change in its score from -2 to +8. It then achieved a score of +10 in 2001 and has remained at that score ever since.

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