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, 1800-2010

See Boix, Miller, and Rosato (2012). The latest version of the data in Stata and CSV formats can be downloaded from Michael K. Miller's website.

  • This dataset appears to be an update of Carles Boix and Sebastian Rosato (2001) "A Complete Data Set of Political Regimes, 1800-1999", which in turn extends 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).
  • What is not ideal about this dataset is the unavailability of component variables and the documentation of judgment call cases.

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).

8. Autocratic Regime Data by Geddes, Wright and Franz (2014)


Stacy said...
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Tyson Roberts said...

Another good place to download a lot of political data in one data set is the QoG data set:

Matthew Wilson said...

See also Casper and Tufis 2003: