V-Dem – Best Dataset 2016!

Sept. 13, 2016

The collection and publication of data is a vital community service. As such, the Lijphart/Przeworski/Verba Dataset Award (award for best dataset in comparative politics established in 1999) is not just a recognition of excellent scholarship, but a “thank you” from the comparative politics community to those making the effort to create data of value to everyone. The Dataset Award recognizes a publicly available data set that has made an important contribution to the field of comparative politics.

On September, 3, at APSA section for Comparative Politics, the award committee mentioned a truly fierce competition this year: “We in the committee had to select between several very worthy candidates. All nominated datasets are the fruit of a lot of hard work and creative thinking of the data collectors”. The best nominee and the winner became the Varieties of Democracy project.

The committee was impressed not only by the size of the project, but also the innovative thinking of conceptualization of the many new indicators: “To do so the team has undertaken a breathtaking data gathering exercise. It is our belief – and hope – that the V-Dem will become a standard dataset in comparative research for years to come“.



V-Dem Dataset Co-authors:

Coppedge, Michael, John Gerring, Staffan I. Lindberg, Svend-Erik Skaaning, Jan Teorell, David Altman, Frida Andersson, Michael Bernhard, M. Steven Fish, Adam Glynn, Allen Hicken, Carl Henrik Knutsen, Kyle Marquardt, Kelly McMann, Valeriya Mechkova, Farhad Miri, Pamela Paxton, Daniel Pemstein, Josefine Pernes, Jeffrey Staton, Natalia Stepanova, Eitan Tzelgov, Yi-ting Wang, and Brigitte Zimmerman.

Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem):

  1. V-Dem is a new approach to conceptualization and measurement of democracy.
  2. It is a unique database consisting of a series of measures of what democracy is or ought to be. 350 unique indicators; 5 distinct indices of democracy; 34 indices for various components of democracy: in total 16mn data points.
  3. V-Dem project is one of the largest ever social science research-oriented data collection programs.
  4. The V-Dem database is the largest of its kind, and it makes possible both highly detailed, nuanced analysis of virtually all aspects of democracy in a country.
  5. The methodology of V-Dem is unique, using multiple specialized country experts where the aim is to have a minimum of five independent experts to provide ratings for each country-year on every indicator.
  6. An open source V-Dem working paper series also makes the unique research program and progress accessible for anyone.
  7. V-Dem has developed a set of online resources for analyzing, tracking and benchmarking of strengths and weaknesses of democracy in all countries.
  8. And it’s free of charge for download!




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