Monday, April 7, 2014

UCDP Peace Agreement Dataset

A civil war dataset on concessions made by the government to rebels in peace agreements. Compatible with the Armed Conflict Dataset.

See the UCDP website for more detail.

Friday, March 7, 2014

DMSP-OLS Nighttime Lights Time Series Version 4

Downloadable here.

The spatial resolution is 30 arc-second (about 1km).

To understand how this dataset is constructed from the original satellite images and the potential data issues, see Elvidge et al. (2001) and Elvidge et al. (2010). Noor et al. (2008) is also useful to understand this data.

Min et al (2013) compare this measure with survey-based electricity access measure.

The data is becoming popular among economists. Recent examples include Henderson et al. (2012), Papaioanno and Michalopoulos (2013, 2014).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

World Input-Output Database

Input-output tables for 40 countries, including Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Russia, and former East European countries in EU, annually from 1995 to 2011.

Visit for more detail.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Democracy Indices

For comparison of different democracy indices, see Munck and Verkuilen (2002) "Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy: Evaluating Alternative Indices," Comparative Political Studies, 35(1): 5-34. This is a very well-written survey.

Most of the following democracy datasets are combined in the country-year format by Pippa Norris at Harvard KSG

1. POLITY IV by Ted Robert Gurr, Monty G. Marshall, and Keith Jaggers

See this entry.

2. Democracy-Dictatorship (DD) Data

Cheibub, Gandhi, and Vreeland (2009) recently update the Democracy-Dictatorship (DD) Data by Przeworski et al. (2000) Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Material Well-Being in the World, 1950-1990 (Cambridge University Press). The data can be downloaded at Jose Cheibub's website. (Dead link corrected on 29 May, 2013)
Przeworski's website has links to what they call Democracy and Development Extended Data Set, covering 199 countries from 1946 to 2002. This should be overridden by the above updated dataset.
Their definition of democracy is clear-cut: (1) the executive is directly elected or indirectly elected via the legislature; (2) the legislature is directly elected; (3) there are more than one parties; (4) the executive power alternates between different parties under the same electoral rule. Cheibub, Gandhi, and Vreeland (2009) keep these component variables in the dataset so that researchers can look at the impact of, say, the presence of elected legislature.

Wright (2008) compiled the presence of legislature under dictatorship after 1990 since the updated DD data was unavailable. See the paper's Web Appendix (Table 3).
3. Boix-Miller-Rosato's Complete Dataset of Political Regimes, 1800-2007 new!

See their forthcoming Comparative Political Studies article.

This dataset appears to be an update of Carles Boix and Sebastian Rosato (2001) "A Complete Data Set of Political Regimes, 1800-1999."
This is a dataset extending Przeworski et al. (2000) before 1950 to 1800 with one more qualification added to the definition of democracy (over 50 % of male population have the right to vote). See Boix (2003) for detail. 
Used by Persson and Tabellini (2006).

4. Freedom House (also known as Gastil Index)
Years available: 1972-present
Downloadable here

This index provides information on civil liberties as well, unlike other measures of democracy.

Heavily criticised by Munck and Verkuilen (2002) (see above).

5. Vanhanen Polyarchy Dataset
Downloadable at PRIO's website
Competition measured by the percentage of votes going to the largest party
Participation measured by voter turnout
Frequently criticised as a democracy index (see Munck and Verkuilen (2002), pp.16-7.

6. Papaioannou and Siourounis "Democratization and Growth"
The paper is downloadable at Papaioannou's website.

Provides the exact year of permanent democratization taking place (defined as the adoption of democratic constitutions after a long period of autocratic rule).

7. Suffrage Data by Paxton, Bollen, Lee, and Kim (2003)

Years 1950-2000 covered.
Downloadable at Bollen's website

For years after 2000, the Comparative Constitutions Project dataset (variables 426-430) may be helpful to recode who have the voting right in each country-year.

For Western democracies today, the history of franchise extension is well documented by section VI of Llavador and Oxoby (2005).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Comparative Constitutions Project

By Zachary Elkins, Tom Ginsburg, and James Melton.

This data project first trances the date of changes in each country's constitution (see the graphic representation of this data).

Then it creates a depository of the English texts of all the constitutions across countries.

Finally, the project codes the content of each constitution in terms of 667 characteristics.

The list of research articles using this data can be found here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Rainfall and Temperature datasets

For a quick overview of rainfall and temperature datasets, see Section 2.2 of Dell, Jones, and Olken (2013) "What Do We Learn from the Weather? The New Climate-Economy Literature"(forthcoming in Journal of Economic Literature).


Hijmans et al. (2005) compile the climate data for the whole land surface on earth (excluding Antarctica) at a spatial resolution of 30 arc seconds (about 1km). Max and min temperature and monthly rainfall are available. This is NOT the time-series weather data, but useful for learning the general climate at the very disaggregated level of areas.

Downloadable at this website.

Used by Dell, Jones, and Olken (2009).

Global Historical Climatology Network

The dataset includes monthly records by rainfall stations and the location of such stations. Used by Maccini and Yang (2006) for monthly precipitation data in Indonesia.


CRU TS 2.1

Monthly climate dataset by 0.5 degree grid for 1901-2002.

Variables available include precipitation, daily mean temperature, monthly average daily maximum temperature, monthly average daily minimum temperature, diurnal temperature range, vapour pressure, cloud cover, wet day frequency, frost day frequency.

To obtain other weather variables such as dew points from the CRU data, see its FAQ no. 5.

See Mitchell and Jones (2005) for detail.

The CRU data is the best estimate of spatial distribution of weather at each point in time. To use the CRU data for time-series analysis, however do read this. Especially, bear in mind that if no station data is available, the average value for the month from 1960-1990 is imposed. Also, changes in weather over time may reflect not only actual weather changes but also changes in the availability of station data.

The original file is downloadable at Mitchell's website (but you need to use Unix to browse the data file).

The aggregate data at the country level is also available as "TYN CY 1.1".

The CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information (CGIAR-CSI) provides the GIS version of CRU TS 2.1 data. Even if you do not intend to use the GIS software, this dataset is useful because weather data files (in the comma delimited ascii format) are split into 6 20-year periods so that you can read these files in Excel, which does not allow you to read more than 256 columns.
These data files consist of columns entitled "value" (0.5 by 0.5 degree grid identifier) and "My" (weather value for of ). The mapping between "value" and geographic coordinates is available in "coordinates.txt". See CRU_21-readme.doc for details.

Monthly temperature data at a 5-degree grid spatial resolution from 1850 to present. Downloadable here. Used by Bluedorn et al. (2009).

Global Six Century Temperature Patterns

This dataset provides annual temperature at a 5 degree spatial resolution from 1730-1980. ASCII files are downloadable here. For the documentation, see Mann et al. (1998). Used by Bluedorn et al. (2009).


Terrestrial Air Temperature and Precipitation: Monthly and Annual Time Series (1950-1999)

Constructed by Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware.

Only the average values during 1950-1999 are available.

Used by Seema Jayachandran (2006) "Air Quality and Early-Life Mortality: Evidence from Indonesia's Wildfires".

For possible concerns to use this dataset for Africa, see footnote 7 of Br├╝ckner and Ciccone (2009).


Climate Prediction Center Merged Analysis of Precipitation (CMAP)

Daily average rainfall data at 2.5 by 2.5 degree grid level, available monthly since 1979.

Used by Thomson et al. (2005) to estimate the impact of rainfall on malaria incidence in Botswana.


Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP)

Rainfall data similar to CMAP.

Used by Miguel et al. (2004) to instrument per capita income growth in relation to civil war incidence.

Rainfall data at the daily frequency at 1.0 by 1.0 degree grid level is also available since October 1996.

Cramer and Leemans's CLIMATE data

"Monthly averages of mean temperature, temperature range, precipitation, rain days and sunshine hours for the terrestrial surface of the globe, gridded at 0.5 degree longitude/latitude resolution" are available for the period 1930-1960.

FAO Climwat

"The CLIMWAT database includes data from a total of 3262 meteorological stations from 144 countries."


Monthly data for 28,100 stations on evapotranspiration, precipitation, sunshine, temperature, vapour pressure, and wind speed.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Global Forest Change

Hansen et al. (2013) has compiled the spatial data on global forest coverage changes during 2000 to 2012. The data is to be publicly available (probably on this website) in January 2014.