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Political Terror Scale

The Political Terror Scale (PTS) project was started by Michael Stohl and several graduate students at Purdue University in the early 1980s, essentially as a way of empirically testing whether U.S. foreign aid was being sent to countries that violated international human rights standards, thereby being in violation of federal law. The five level coding scheme employed by the PTS was taken directly from the 1980 Freedom House Yearbook and it has been used ever since. With this U.S. foreign aid focus, the PTS originally only coded 59 countries. However, in 1984 Mark Gibney began directing the project and he has remained in this capacity ever since. The most noteworthy change is the expansion of the PTS to the entire world, and as new states are created the PTS has grown accordingly. However, what is also remarkable is how the PTS has expanded from its original use involving U.S. foreign aid (Stohl et al.) and refugee protection (Gibney) to now include a dizzying array of political phenomena, as reflected in the Bibliography.

All datasets:  P
  • P
    • September 2016
      Source: Political Terror Scale
      Uploaded by: Knoema
      Accessed On: 30 November, 2016
      Select Dataset
      Political Terror Scale Levels 1 - Coun­tries un­der a se­cure rule of law, people are not im­prisoned for their views, and tor­ture is rare or ex­cep­tion­al. Polit­ic­al murders are ex­tremely rare.2 - There is a lim­ited amount of im­pris­on­ment for non­vi­ol­ent polit­ic­al activ­ity. However, few per­sons are af­fected, tor­ture and beat­ings are ex­cep­tion­al. Polit­ic­al murder is rare.3 - There is ex­tens­ive polit­ic­al im­pris­on­ment, or a re­cent his­tory of such im­pris­on­ment. Ex­e­cu­tion or oth­er polit­ic­al murders and bru­tal­ity may be com­mon. Un­lim­ited de­ten­tion, with or without a tri­al, for polit­ic­al views is ac­cep­ted.4 - Civil and polit­ic­al rights vi­ol­a­tions have ex­pan­ded to large num­bers of the pop­u­la­tion. Murders, dis­ap­pear­ances, and tor­ture are a com­mon part of life. In spite of its gen­er­al­ity, on this level ter­ror af­fects those who in­terest them­selves in polit­ics or ideas.5 - Ter­ror has ex­pan­ded to the whole pop­u­la­tion. The lead­ers of these so­ci­et­ies place no lim­its on the means or thor­ough­ness with which they pur­sue per­son­al or ideo­lo­gic­al goals.