V-Dem Dataset v8 is released

April 30, 2018 news

The Varieties of Democracy Project is releasing a groundbreaking dataset with new data from 1789-2017!

Calling on everyone with an interest in democracy: Have you ever wanted to know what democracy looked like in different countries 200 years ago? The latest data release by the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) project allows you to do just that. In addition to updating the dataset to cover 2017 for 201 countries, with the time series for many countries going all the way back to 1789, it also contains 12 brand new indices.

The new data for years prior to 1900 come from the Historical Varieties of Democracy (Historical V-Dem), which we have integrated for the very first time to the V-Dem dataset. The historical data includes 260 indicators across 91 countries, going back to 1789. Providing data on democracy with such historical breadth and depth is an important milestone and a truly unique feature of the new V-Dem data. The historical data also include new indicators pertaining to the features of state institutions, state capacity and type of coalitions that supported political regimes.

The main advantage of integrating data from Historical V-Dem is naturally the longer time series, which makes it possible for social scientists to map global patterns of democratization across more than 200 years.  This coverage will make it possible to more accurately identify important trends in democratization over time and explore relationships between issues such as interstate war and democratization. The wealth of data also provides the opportunity to investigate a wide spectrum of issues such as the long-term effects of specific political institutions and the determinants and effects of varieties of democracies.

Overview of V-Dem Dataset V8:

  • The dataset is free and available for download in the following formats: SPSS, STATA, STATA-IC, CSV and EXCEL via: https://www.v-dem.net/en/data/data-version-8/
  • The data is available in country-year and country-date format. The dataset is also available with different levels of coverage (V-Dem Core and V-Dem Extended).
  • Countries: 201 
  • Year coverage: 1789-2017
  • 450 indicators, 47 mid-indices and 5 high-level indices
  • Complete set of reference materials, including codebook
  • Raw data is provided by over 3,000 local Country Experts from all around the world
  • New indices and indicators: Neopatrimonialism index, Clientelism index, Presidentialism index, Regime Corruption, Rule of Law index, State fiscal capacity, Bureaucratic remuneration, Bureaucratic recruitment criteria, Judiciary variables, and time-specific country name.

The 2018 V-Dem Democracy report will be published in May. Anna Lührmann, V-Dem Deputy-Director and the leader of Democracy Report group gives a preview of the main findings of the report: “Global levels of democracy are still close to their all-time high. This finding gives cause for optimism about the state and future of democracy. Worrisome are the downward trends in several key countries such as the United States, Poland, India, Turkey and Russia. Whereas electoral aspects of democracy have improved in many countries in recent years, freedom of expression has come under threat”.

Information about V-Dem

Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) represents a worldwide collaborative effort of 3,000 scholars and experts.  It measures democracy with a new, multidimensional, point of view. V-Dem is headquartered at the V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg. Historical V-Dem centers are located at Lund University and the University of Oslo. 

The V-Dem dataset is the largest of its kind and the most comprehensive database on democracy. The dataset enables a vast research agenda, including nuanced descriptive analyses of data that are comparable across time and space. V-Dem data are becoming the leading source of information on democracy. They are used by both by scholars and international organizations, such as the World Bank, Transparency International, UNDP, European Commission, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, the Resource Governance Institute, International IDEA, as well as numerous NGOs around the world.


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