The Polity IV Country Report 2010 Series

Explanatory Notes

POLITY IV TABLE (Top Section):

1) Comparison of Polity IV Scores 2009/2010: Each Polity IV Country Report begins with a table that summarizes the regime’s Polity IV composite index scores for the listed year and the year previous (changes in Polity IV indices (POLITY, DEMOC, and AUTOC) are also noted); years of duration for the current regime; and an indication of whether the coded scores are tentative or not so.

2) Polity IV Trend Graph, 1946-2010: The Polity IV Country Reports contain a graphic in the upper right hand corner that tracks the country’s annual Polity scores from 1946 to present with a referent grid denoting vertical thresholds for Democracy (+6 and above) and Autocracy (-6 and below) and a horizontal line indicating the end of the Cold War (1991). The trend graph includes information on special Polity conditions, including periods of factionalism (POLCOMP = 6 or 7; Polity trend line denoted in RED), interruption (POLITY = -66; Polity trend denoted with dashed purple line), interregnum (POLITY = -77; Polity trend denoted with dashed black line), and transition (POLITY = -88; Polity trend denoted with dashed green line) and special Polity change events, including autocratic backsliding (i.e., a five-point or greater change toward more autocratic authority that forcibly replaces an established regime, denoted with an X), executive auto-coups or autogolpe (i.e., a five-point or greater change in regime authority initiated by a ruling executive, denoted by an A), revolutionary change (i.e., a forcible ouster of an established regime and its wholesale replacement by a radically different regime authority and ruling elite, denoted by an R), state failure (i.e., the total or near-total collapse of central authority affecting more than fifty percent of state territory, denoted by a S), and coup d'etat (i.e., a military or military-backed forcible ouster of an established executive with little or no change in regime authority).

Polity IV Trend Graph Summary:
Regime POLITY scores are generally plotted over time using a SOLID BLUE LINE (note that the Polity scores are plotted for January 1 of the target year rather than December 31 as they are recorded in the Polity IV data series; e.g., the value recorded for a regime on December 31, 2005 is plotted for the year 2006 on the graph). As our research shows that periods of "factionalism" are particularly problematic for the durability of established regime authority patterns, we plot these special periods of "factionalism" with a SOLID RED LINE.

Special Polity IV regime conditions are denoted by dashed lines:
     PURPLE DASHED LINE denotes an "Interruption (-66)"
     BLACK DASHED LINE denotes an "Interregnum (-77)
     GREEN DASHED LINE denotes a "Transition (-88)"

Special Polity IV change events are marked with capital letters at the (initial) point of change in the Polity Trend Graph:
     Autocratic Backsliding Events
are denoted by a BOLD BLACK "X"
     Executive Auto-coup or autogolpe Events are denoted by a BOLD BLACK "A"
     Revolutionary Change Events are denoted by a BOLD BLACK "R"
     State Failure Events are denoted by a BOLD BLACK "S"
     Coup d'Etat Events are denoted by a BOLD BLACK "C"

Direct Foreign Military Regime Change Intervention is denoted by a BOLD ORANGE CARET at the point of intervention along with an abbreviated designation of the intervening state(s) or international organization(s)

3) Polity IV Coded Information: The line following the index and graph summations record the country’s alpha and numeric codes and the date of the report. Following that information are reported the values recorded for the target year (2010) on the six Polity IV Component variables (refer to the Polity IV Users’ Manual for a full explanation of the variables and values). The next row lists the dates of the most recent polity transition of three or more points on the POLITY index scale (this is the date of polity change from which the durability, DURABLE, of the regime is measured in years). The End Date refers to the date when the previous polity regime ended and the Begin Date lists the date of the beginning of the current regime.

4) Polity IV Fragmentation: Fragmentation indicates whether there is a substantial portion of the country that does not operate conventionally within the political arena of the current polity regime and does not recognize the authority of that regime (i.e., a de facto separate polity); it also identifies the territory considered to be a polity fragment and, thus, not considered in assigning the Polity IV coded scores.

5) Branches of Government: The remainder of the table identifies, in summary form, the current political institutions that comprise the polity: Constitution, Executive(s), Legislature, and Judiciary.


Following the POLITY IV TABLE are brief explanations of the decisions made in assigning Polity IV codes for the current regime. These narrative accounts are broken down according to the three Polity IV Concept qualities: Executive Recruitment, Executive Constraints, and Political Competition. Please refer to the Polity IV Users’ Manual for more information on codes and coding procedures.

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