Most studies of democratic developments are limited to the period after World War II. However, political regimes varied according to different aspects of democracy long before the establishment of modern liberal mass democracies. We come down strongly in favor of collecting disaggregate and fine-grained historical data on democratic features. Based on a distinction between competition, participation, and constraints on the executive, we discuss previous attempts at historical measurement and address the specific challenges that pertain to scoring political regimes in, first, the “long 19th century” and, second, medieval and early modern Europe.
This postprint is in the version of: Working Paper, SERIES 2016:38, THE VARIETIES OF DEMOCRACY INSTITUTE