The premier data on leader survival focus on the violent, dramatic means by which leaders ‘exit’ office. This information, vital for many research questions, constitutes a valuable public good for the community. Yet, it provides an incomplete picture of the political rise and fall of world leaders. The burgeoning study of leaders using survival analysis requires a fine-grained understanding of not just when, but why and how leaders lose power. We cannot, for example, conclude that a leader’s exit implies a successful application of international pressure if her removal stems from pre-set constitutional laws and the immediate successor has long been considered the heir apparent. The Regular Turnover Details dataset remedies this problem. Two principal variables report information about the manner of each leader’s exit and the relationship between outgoing and incoming leaders, allowing analysts to arbitrate between exits that suggest political failure and those that don’t, identify non-political leaders (such as interim and technocratic executives), and determine whether leaders constitute heirs to power or challengers thereto.
This was originally published on SAGE Publications Ltd: Journal of Peace Research: Table of Contents.