REIGN Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance dataset

Democracies vs Non-Democracies 1950 - 2018: Visualization by Joshua Lambert and Jean-Pierre Larroque


The Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance (REIGN) dataset is the most robust leader-month data capturing national electoral process and leadership change. As of April 2019, it contains over 130,000 unique leader-month observations. REIGN, created by Dr. Curtis Bell, combines a number of publicly available academic datasets with original data collection.

REIGN is updated at the beginning of each month and the newest data versions can be found in this repository. Alongside the data, you will also find a link to the most current REIGN blog updates provided by One Earth Future Research. Click on the archive menu to access a list of links for past versions of REIGN. REIGN is updated during the last week of each month. For any questions concerning this website and the current status of updates, please contact current project manager Clayton Besaw (

OEFR Forecasting now hosts a medium blog called the Die is Forecast. This blog is dedicated to technical analyses and code vignettes regarding our REIGN data and CoupCast/ELVIS forecasting projects. Feel free to check it out here if you interested in seeing how we use REIGN data to predict and understand the drivers of political violence and instability.

The Convesation. Why Sudan’s deadly crackdown on protesters could escalate in coming weeks Eric Keels and Joshua Lambert. June 11, 2019

Global Investigative Journalism Network. GIJN’s Data Journalism Top 10: Data Feminism, Blockchain for Investigations, Train Speeds, EU DataViz Conference April 25, 2019

The Economist. Sudan and Algeria overthrow despots but not their political systems. April 17, 2019

The Economist. How to predict when a despot will fall. April 17, 2019

Data Is Plural Newsletter. April 10, 2019

AI News Update: AI news glance for busy executives. April 5, 2019

Vanguard. Dictatorship and election loss February 5, 2019

Business Insider. The odds of a military coup in Venezuela rise every day Maduro stays in office. February 1, 2019

Business Insider. 2018 was the first year since 2007 without a coup. Here’s what that means for 2019. December 24, 2018

Washington Post. It’s been one year since Zimbabwe toppled Mugabe. Why isn’t it a democracy yet? November 17, 2018

American Enterprise Institute. Elections have spread throughout the world. But has democracy? That’s a different question. May 24, 2018

American Enterprise Institute. New data on democracy’s supposed decline April 26, 2018

Koto AI. An Anomaly in Armenia: Now what? April 24, 2018

American Enterprise Institute. Is democracy actually in retreat? There’s some evidence to the contrary April 4, 2018

Koto AI. Tenure track: China’s term-limit change in comparative perspective March 12, 2018

Koto AI. Global: More Democracy, Less Freedom January 19, 2018


The Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance (REIGN) dataset describes political conditions in every country each and every month. These conditions include the tenures and personal characteristics of world leaders, the types of political institutions and political regimes in effect, election outcomes and election announcements, and irregular events like coups, coup attempts and other violent conflicts. The dataset covers more than 200 countries for each month they were independent, January 1950 to the present. REIGN was created by gathering original data, compiling other datasets on political conditions, reviewing their coding rules, and updating all information to the present.

Key Outputs:


Bell, Curtis. 2016. The Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance Dataset (REIGN). Broomfield, CO: OEF Research. Available at

The sources used to construct REIGN include several other datasets that have been altered, extended, updated, and transformed (see Extended Technical Notes). If you use REIGN, please also consider citing:

For Leader Data:

Goemans, Henk E., Kristian Skrede Gleditch, and Giacomo Chiozza. 2009. “Introducing Archigos: A Dataset of Political Leaders” Journal of Peace Research, 46(2): 269-183.

Ellis, Cali Mortenson, Michael C. Horowitz, and Allan C. Stam. 2015. “Introducing the LEAD Data Set.” International Interactions, 41(4): 718-741.

For Political System Data:

Marshall, Monty G., Ted Robert Gurr, and Keith Jaggers. 2016. Polity IV Project. Center for Systemic Peace.

Barbara Geddes, Joseph Wright, and Erica Frantz. 2014. “Autocratic Regimes and Transitions.” Perspectives on Politics. 12(2).

For Irregular Events:

Powell, Jonathan & Clayton Thyne. 2011. Global Instances of Coups from 1950-Present. Journal of Peace Research 48(2):249-259.

Erik Melander, Therése Pettersson, and Lotta Themnér (2016) Organized violence, 1989–2015. Journal of Peace Research 53(5)