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The high degree of conceptual confusion in the field of territorial self-governance constitutes a major obstacle to robust findings. Based on a parsimonious definition involving three individually necessary and jointly sufficient criteria (constitutional protection, territorial quality, and strength of self-rule), we develop a new typology of territorial self-governance that carves out subnational differences in kind. Empirically, we take a fresh look at territorial self-governance in more than 2,200 second-level regions in 96 Western and non-Western democracies, semi-democracies, and a selection of autocratic regimes between 2000 and 2018. The TERRGO dataset introduced in this article contains over 39,000 region-year assessments. Based on the identification of eight specific types of territorial self-governance, TERRGO allows to untangle country-specific profiles. The dataset can be used to analyze changes and asymmetries of state architectures. The framework reduces the conceptual complexity and enhances our grasp on the empirical complexity of territorial state structures.


The Territorial Autonomy Literature Datasets (TALD) are surveys of over 800 peer-reviewed and non peer-reviewed articles published between 1945 and 2018. The study reveals significant imbalances in gender and origin of authors, methodological approaches and studied cases. While the data shows some trend towards greater diversity and team collaboration, we observe that autonomy research is still dominated by male and Western-based scholars, and by single-authored small-n studies on sub-national regions in Europe and post-Soviet Eurasia. More