Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Inclusion, Dispersion, and Constraint: Powersharing in the World’s States, 1975–2010


Arrangements for sharing political power serve three purposes: to give all relevant groups access to important political decisions; to partition the policy process, thereby granting groups relevant autonomy; and to constrain holders of political power from abusing authority. A new global dataset of political power sharing institutions, 1975–2010, is introduced here, disaggregated these along three institutional dimensions: inclusive, dispersive, and constraining. Existing literature associates power sharing with democracy and civil conflict resolution. Unlike the existing literature, this dataset shows inclusive institutions are common in post-conflict states, though least strongly associated with electoral democracy. Conversely, constraining institutions, though comparatively rare in states with current or recent civil conflicts, are highly correlated with electoral democracy.

Hide All

UC San Diego and University of Oslo (email:; Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and University of Oslo (email:; University of Southern California (email:; PRIO and University of Oslo (email: The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation (Grant No. SES-081950766b; PI: Strøm) and the Norwegian Research Council (196850/F10; PI: Gates). Data replication sets are available at

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Rudy B Andeweg . 2000. Consociational Democracy. Annual Review of Political Science 3:509536.

Brian Barry . 1975. The Consociational Model and Its Dangers. European Journal of Political Research 3 (4):393412.

Thorsten Beck , George Clarke , Alberto Groff , Philip Keefer , and Patrick Walsh . 2001. New Tools in Comparative Political Economy: The Database of Political Institutions. World Bank Economic Review 15 (1):165176.

Thorsten Beck , Ross Levine , and Norman Loayza . 2000. Finance and the Sources of Growth. Journal of Financial Economics 58:261300.

Helga Malmin Binningsbø . 2013. Power Sharing, Peace and Democracy: Any Obvious Relationships? International Area Studies Review 16 (1):89112.

Carles Boix , Michael K. Miller , and Sebastian Rosato . 2012. A Complete Data Set of Political Regimes, 1800–2007. Comparative Political Studies 46 (12):15231554.

Dawn Brancati . 2006. Decentralization: Fueling the Fire or Dampening the Flames of Ethnic Conflict and Secessionism? International Organization 60 (3):651685.

Lars Erik Cederman , Andreas Wimmer , and Brian Min . 2010. Why Do Ethnic Groups Rebel? New Data and Analysis. World Politics 62 (1):87119.

Scott Gates , Håvard Hegre , Mark P. Jones , and Håvard Strand . 2006. Institutional Inconsistency and Political Instability: Polity Duration, 1800–2000. American Journal of Political Science 50 (4):893908.

Scott Gates , Håvard Hegre , Mark P. Jones , and Håvard Strand . 2006. Institutional Inconsistency and Political Instability: Polity Duration, 1800–2000. American Journal of Political Science 50 (4):893908.

Benjamin A.T. Graham , and Kaare W. Strøm . 2015. Variations in Federalism: Explaining Subnational Policy Authority. Available from SSRN 2533599.

Donald L Horowitz . 1985. Ethnic Groups in Conflict. Berkeley: University of California Press.

International Parliamentary Union. Available from Accessed 14 May 2015.

Library of Congress Country Studies. Available from Accessed May 2015.

Arend Lijphart . 1975. Review Article: The Northern Ireland Problem; Cases, Theories, and Solutions. British Journal of Political Science 5 (1):83106.

Arend Lijphart . 1997. Unequal Participation: Democracy’s Unresolved Dilemma. American Political Science Review 91 (1):114.

Arend Lijphart . 2012. Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press.

Pippa Norris . 2008. Driving Democracy: Do Power-Sharing Institutions Work? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bumba Mukherjee . 2006. Why Political Power-Sharing Agreements Lead to Enduring Peaceful Resolution of Some Civil Wars, but Not Others? International Studies Quarterly 50 (2):479504.

Philip G. Roeder , and Donald S. Rothchild . 2005. Sustainable Peace: Power and Democracy after Civil Wars. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Timothy D Sisk . 1996. Power Sharing and International Mediation in Ethnic Conflicts. Washington, D.C.: US Institute of Peace.

C. M Tiebout . 1956. A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures. Journal of Political Economy 64 (5):416424.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 23
Total number of PDF views: 285 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 950 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.