C. Bell. The Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance Dataset (REIGN). 2016. http://oefresearch.org/datasets/reign. The dataset, variable descriptions, and technical notes, are available at the link. The variable descriptions below are taken from http://oefresearch.org/sites/default/files/REIGN_descriptions.pdf. Collection stopped in 2021; this dataset is now archived in this package.



An object of class tbl_df (inherits from tbl, data.frame) with 13937 rows and 14 columns.


C. Bell. The Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance Dataset (REIGN). 2016. http://oefresearch.org/datasets/reign.


The REIGN regime characteristics dataset is based on the regime classifications of Geddes, Wright, and Frantz (gwf_autocratic), but it is updated monthly, and it has some differences with gwf_autocratic. These are described as follows in the online technical notes:

REIGN data is updated to the present month (up to August 2021). We also added the following countries to the dataset: The Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Belize, Guyana, Surinam, Andorra, San Marino, Malta, Cyprus, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Sudan, Bhutan, Maldives, South Vietnam, Brunei, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, Tonga, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Palau, Micronesia, and Samoa.

We also added political systems that lasted for less than a year and specified start and end months. This allows for a more granular look at transitional periods and interim governments. These new short-lived regimes appear in countries including Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Peru, Benin, Niger, Ghana, and Nigeria.

Finally, GWF generally does not allow for yearly changes in institutions over the course of a regime. If a government begins as personalist, it stays personalist until that leader leaves power. In several cases we code a change in regime type following reforms during the tenure of a single leader, including Lanzana in Burkina Faso, Rawlings in Ghana, etc.

Further discussion of the differences between REIGN and GWF (gwf_autocratic) is available here: http://oefresearch.org/sites/default/files/REIGN%20Data%202016.10.05.pdf



The COW code of the country in REIGN.


The country name in REIGN.


The case name in the gwf dataset.


The startdate of the case in the gwf dataset.


The enddate of the case in the gwf dataset.


The start date of the regime.


The end date of the regime, or 31 December of the current year.


The regime type. This is what the codebook says about the regime types:


We use a procedural definition of democracy, meaning we are interested in the institutional rules that dictate how leaders gain power and not in other correlates of democracy, including strong traditions of freedom of speech and assembly. Non-competitive single-party systems are classified as such, even if some are somewhat more liberal than others (see Botswana and Namibia). Democracies have reasonably free-and-fair competitions for political power.

  1. Presidential Democracy: Democracy in which the executive is distinct from the legislative branch and considerable decision-making authority is granted to the executive. Presidential systems have presidents who serve as chief executives rather than figureheads.

  2. Parliamentary Democracy: Democracy in which legislatures are more powerful and executives are less autonomous. Generally speaking, countries with powerful prime ministers and general elections are parliamentary democracies. Hybrid semi-presidential systems are classified case-by-case, but are usually grouped with parliamentary democracies.


The Autocratic Regimes dataset by Professors Barbara Geddes, Joseph Wright, and Erica Frantz classifies all non-democratic governments into one of ten categories. Though our data differs from this dataset in important ways, it uses the same typology. We document major differences in the extended technical notes.

  1. Personalist Systems: Power is highly concentrated in the hands of a non-monarch dictator who is relatively unconstrained by a military or political party. Contemporary examples include Russia, Sudan, and Chad.

  2. Monarchies: Power is highly concentrated in the hands of a monarch who is much more than just a figurehead. Contemporary examples include Swaziland, Kuwait, and Morocco.

  3. Single-Party Systems: Power is held by the head of a party. Executive power is effectively checked by the party or ruling committee. Contemporary examples include China, Angola, and Ethiopia.

  4. Oligarchies: Power is held by the head of party, but unlike other single-party systems this party explicitly represents the interests of one elite segment of society. Past examples include apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia under Ian Smith.

  5. Party-Personalist Hybrids: An intermediate hybrid where a party apparatus supports a dictator, yet the party's identity is concentrated around the person in power and it has few meaningful checks on executive power. Examples include Eritrea, and North Korea.

  6. Military Juntas: A military committee runs the country. One officer typically serves as head, but this head serves the interests of the committee and his power is checked by other members of the military. Recent examples include Thailand and Algeria.

  7. Indirect Military Juntas: The military has de facto power, but rules behind a civilian puppet. See pre-Mobutu Zaire and Suriname under Bouterse (1980-1988).

  8. Personalist-Military Hybrids: A hybrid of military and personalist institutions in which a dictator holds most power and is relatively unchecked, yet the dictator's authority is rooted in military support. These systems often evolve from juntas when power is consolidated around a single individual. Examples include Chile under Pinochet, Pakistan under Zia and Musharraf, and Fiji under Bainimarama.

  9. Party-Military Hybrids: Militarized single-party states in which most or all members of the ruling party are military elites. Examples include Algeria from 1962-1992, El Salvador before 1982, and Congo-Brazzaville between the 1968 coup and 1991.

  10. Party-Personalist-Military Hybrids: A dictator rules with the support of a militarized single-party state, but is relatively unchecked by these institutions. Examples include Egypt after 1952, Indonesia under Suharto, and Syria under the Assads.


Finally, we include four forms of government that are explicitly provisional or transitional:

  1. Warlordism: occurs only in countries that are torn apart by conflict to the extent that they do not have a functional government. As of 2016, only Libya and Yemen meet this definition. War-torn countries like Syria are not included because a strong government continues to hold power in the capital and a significant part of the country.

  2. Foreign-Occupied governments occur where foreign politicians or militaries hold de facto power over a government.

  3. Civilian Provisional and Military Provisional governments are explicitly temporary arrangementsthat usually proceed completed transitions to democracy or follow coups and constitutional crises. Interim regimes are only called "military provisional" if the military is holding power until an election or some other formalized legitimizing event can occur.

Standard descriptive variables (generated by this package)


The name of the country in the Gleditsch-Ward system of states, or the official name of the entity (for non-sovereign entities and states not in the Gleditsch and Ward system of states) or else a common name for disputed cases that do not have an official name (e.g., Western Sahara, Hyderabad). The Gleditsch and Ward scheme sometimes indicates the common name of the country and (in parentheses) the name of an earlier incarnation of the state: thus, they have Germany (Prussia), Russia (Soviet Union), Madagascar (Malagasy), etc. For details, see Gleditsch, Kristian S. & Michael D. Ward. 1999. "Interstate System Membership: A Revised List of the Independent States since 1816." International Interactions 25: 393-413. The list can be found at http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~ksg/statelist.html.


Gleditsch and Ward's numeric country code, from the Gleditsch and Ward list of independent states.


The Correlates of War numeric country code, 2016 version. This differs from Gleditsch and Ward's numeric country code in a few cases. See http://www.correlatesofwar.org/data-sets/state-system-membership for the full list.


Whether the state is "in system" (that is, is independent and sovereign), according to Gleditsch and Ward, for this particular date. Matches at the end of the year; so, for example South Vietnam 1975 is FALSE because, according to Gleditsch and Ward, the country ended on April 1975 (being absorbed by North Vietnam). It is also TRUE for dates beyond 2012 for countries that did not end by then, depsite the fact that the Gleditsch and Ward list has not been updated since.