Use this page to work on the classification criteria that your group is developing. This will be a checklist that explains how each of you is supposed to classify a randomly drawn regime.

Issues to consider:

  • Will you be measuring "democracy" and "dictatorship" or something related (e.g., freedom, authority?) What is the interesting thing you want to measure? (E.g., the size of the selectorate, or the degree of constraint on executive power, or anything else).
  • How will you determine whether a country is a dictatorship or not? Will you focus on observable features of the regime, or will you make subjective judgments? What observable criteria can you use?
  • Will you make a classification based on a number of different categories, or on an index (from 0 to 10, for example)
  • Does your criteria appear to require data that is hard to obtain? Where do you think you can get the information?
  • How do you deal with countries that are/were not independent?
  • How do you deal with civil war or revolution? Can there be a “regime” during times of civil war or revolution?
  • Will you distinguish between different kinds of dictatorship? If so, how?
  • What sorts of questions could this classification help answer?

Remember to write down your classification criteria as precisely as possible. For example, if you think that "competitive elections" is the important characteristic, you need to write down exactly what conditions make an election competitive: do there need to be multiple parties? does the winner need to win by fewer than certain number of votes? Will international observers need to certify the election?

Regime Classifications: Dictatorship or Democracy
- Alice and Kate
So have changed the plan all together, The file below contains a flow chart that provides a guide to classifying regimes as either dictators or democracies based on elections. A good good place to start looking for information for these things is the sources identified in the comments below.


Might be important to consider what sources you think you might use to get this information. Also, why is this better than the alternatives? Do you think democracy/dictatorship does come on a continuum? - xmarquez xmarquez Mar 21, 2011

See also for sources:

Elections in Africa and Elections in Asia and the Pacific: A Data Handbook, Vols 1-2. Available as electronic resources in the library (here,here, and here). - xmarquez xmarquez Mar 22, 2011