What's the meaning of "country- years"?

Democratic legislatures approved only 76 percent of bills proposed by the executive branch during 783 country- years

Democracy and the Limits of Self-Government By Adam Przeworski

"Suppose that the government perseveres with a policy that is unpopular. If this policy is subject to legislative approval, the government may fail in the parliament. Opposition parties may persuade government supporters to modify their views, they can exercise their institutional prerogatives to block some legislation (in Germany, presidencies of parliamentary committees are distributed proportionately to party strength; in the United Kingdom the Committe of Public Accounts is always controlled by the opposition); they can threaten with obstructive tactics (a government proposal to privatize an electric utility company was met with thousands of amendments in France; filibuster in the U.S. Senate); and they can threaten with noncooperation at lower levels of governments they control. Governments do not always get what they want in the legislatures: According to Saiegh (2009), democractic legislatures approved only 76 percent of bills proposed by the executive branch during 783 country-years for which these data are available." "But can people outside the parliament effectively influence government decisions? Manin (1997: 170), for one, makes this argument:" "Freedom of public opinion is a democratic feature of representative systems, in that it provides a means whereby the voice of the people can reach those who govern.... Representatives are not required to act on the wishes of the people, but neither can they ignore them: freedom of public opinion ensures that such wishes can be expressed and be brought to the attention of those who govern. It is the representatives who make the final decision, but a framework is created in which the will of the people is one of the considerations in their decision process."


It means number of countries multiplied by number of years. So the data from Saiegh (2009) covered multiple countries for multiple years for a total of 783 country-years.

Here is another example of it in use in a research study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21295846

It is similar to the more commonly used man-hours. For example, if 10 men work for 2 hours, you can say that they did 20 man-hours of work.

  • 1
    This is correct, but not particularly useful, I feel. For my +1, perhaps you could expand on it to include the similarity with the more familiar man-years [of work] and how they are calculated? – Andrew Leach Feb 4 '14 at 15:27
  • Or "man hours", or even "Newton metres". – tobyink Feb 4 '14 at 15:37

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