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FSD1289 Measures of Democracy 1810-2014

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Vanhanen, Tatu (University of Tampere. Department of Political Science and International Relations)


The data contain three different variables, created by Tatu Vanhanen in his long-term research, for each year from 1810 to 2014. The variables in question are political competition, political participation and the index of democratization.

The competition variable portrays the electoral success of smaller parties, that is, the percentage of votes gained by the smaller parties in parliamentary and/or presidential elections. The variable is calculated by subtracting from 100 the percentage of votes won by the largest party (the party which wins most votes) in parliamentary elections or by the party of the successful candidate in presidential elections. Depending on their importance, either parliamentary or presidential elections are used in the calculation of the variable, or both elections are used, with weights. If information on the distribution of votes is not available, or if the distribution does not portray the reality accurately, the distribution of parliamentary seats is used instead. If parliament members are elected but political parties are not allowed to take part in elections, it is assumed that one party has taken all votes or seats. In countries where parties are not banned but yet only independent candidates participate in elections, it is assumed that the share of the largest party is not over 30 percent.

The political participation variable portrays the voting turnout in each election, and is calculated as the percentage of the total population who actually voted in the election. In the case of indirect elections, only votes cast in the final election are taken into account. If electors have not been elected by citizens, only the number of actual electors is taken into account, which means that the degree of participation drops to the value 0. If an election to choose electors has been held, the participation variable is calculated from the number and distribution of votes in that election. National referendums raise the variable value by five percent and state (regional) referendums by one percent for the year they are held. Referendums can add the degree of participation at maximum by 30 percent a year. The value of the combined degree of participation cannot be higher than 70 percent, even in cases where the sum of participation and referendums would be higher than 70.

The index of democratization is formed by multiplying the competition and the participation variables and then dividing the outcome by 100.


democracy; democratization; political participation; political parties; politics; voting

Topic Classification

international politics and organisations (CESSDA Topics Classification)

social sciences


The dataset is (A) openly available for all users without registration.

Data Collector

Vanhanen, Tatu (University of Tampere. Department of Political Science and International Relations)
Lundell, Krister (Åbo Akademi University. Department of Political Science)

Collection Date

1970 - 2015


United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Albania, Armenia, Angola, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Barbados, Bangladesh, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Bulgaria, Bahrain, Burundi, Benin, Brunei, Bolivia, Brazil, Bahamas, Bhutan, Botswana, Belarus, Belize, Canada, Congo (Zaire), Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville), Switzerland, Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), Chile, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Cuba, Cape Verde, Cyprus, Czech Republic, German Democratic Republic GDR, Germany, West-Germany, Djibouti, Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Algeria, Ecuador, Estonia, Egypt, Eritrea, Spain, Ethiopia, Finland, Fiji, Micronesia, France, Gabon, United Kingdom, Grenada, Georgia, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Croatia, Haiti, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, India, Iraq, Iran, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Jordan, Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Cambodia, Kiribati, Comoros, Saint Kitts and Nevis, North Korea, South Korea, Kuwait, Kazakhstan, Laos, Lebanon, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka, Liberia, Lesotho, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Libya, Morocco, Moldova, Madagascar, Marshall Islands, Macedonia, Mali, Myanmar (Burma), Mongolia, Mauritania, Malta, Mauritius, Maldives, Malawi, Mexico, Malaysia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Nicaragua, The Netherlands, Norway, Nepal, New Zealand, Oman, Panama, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Paraguay, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, Seychelles, Sudan, Sweden, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Somalia, Serbia, Suriname, Sao Tome and Principe, Russia (USSR, Soviet Union), El Salvador, Syria, Swaziland, Chad, Togo, Thailand, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Tonga, Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Tanzania, Ukraine, Uganda, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezuela, Vietnam, Western Samoa, Vanuatu, Yemen, Yugoslavia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, North Vietnam, North Yemen, South Vietnam, South Yemen

Geographical Coverage

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Myanmar (Burma), Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Zaire), Costa Rica, Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire), Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, German Democratic Republic GDR, Germany, West-Germany, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, North Korea, South Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Russia (USSR, Soviet Union), Rwanda, Western Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Yemen, North Yemen, South Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Analysis Unit

Geographic unit (Country)


All independent states, their predecessors and Taiwan (excluding "the states with less than 40000 inhabitants; former states and principalities that no longer exist; former colonies; precolonial states and political communities of Asia and Africa")

Sampling Procedure

Total universe/Complete enumeration

The data contains information on all states found in openly available public documents.

Collection Mode


Research Instrument

Data collection guidelines: Secondary data collection guide

Time Method

Time series

Data Source

See background information

Collection Size

Data: SPSS portable file, ASCII and excel files in English. Data available also in other file formats.

Number of cases and variables

191 cases and 616 variables

Data version

7.0 (30.5.2016)

Other Material

See downloadable files at the top of the page

Background information and bibliography (bgF1289e.html)

Variable list: text file in English (FSD1289_variablelist.txt)

Related Studies

FSD1216 Democratization and Power Resources 1850-2000

FSD2140 Gender-Weighted Index of Democratization 1995-2010

FSD2420 Index of Power Resources (IPR) 2007

Citation Requirement

The data and its creators shall be cited in all publications and presentations for which the data have been used. The bibliographic citation may be in the form suggested by the archive or in the form required by the publication.

Bibliographical Citation

Vanhanen, Tatu (University of Tampere): Measures of Democracy 1810-2014 [dataset]. Version 7.0 (2016-05-30). Finnish Social Science Data Archive [distributor].

Depositing Requirements

The user shall notify the archive of all publications where she or he has used the data.


The original data creators and the archive bear no responsibility for any results or interpretations arising from the reuse of the data.

Related Publications

Buitenzorgy, M. & Mol, A.P.J. (2011). Does Democracy Lead to a Better Environment? Deforestation and the Democratic Transition Peak. Environmental and Resource Economics 48(1), 59-70. doi:10.1007/s10640-010-9397-y

Democratization (2009). Eds. Haerpfer, Christian W. & Bernhagen, Patrick & Inglehart, Ronald F. & Welzel, Christian. New York: Oxford University Press.

Easton, M.R. & Montinola, G.R. (2016) Remittances, Regime Type, and Government Spending Priorities. In Studies in Comparative International Development, December 2016.

Hackl, Franz & Halla, Martin & Pruckner, Gerald J. (2010). Volunteering and the state. Public Choice. Published online: 30 December 2010. doi:10.1007/s11127-010-9754-y

Hayo, Bernd & Voigt, Stefan (2010). Determinants of constitutional change: Why do countries change their form of government? Journal of Comparative Economics 38(3), 283-305. doi:10.1016/j.jce.2010.07.007

Hayo, Bernd & Voigt, Stefan (2011). Endogenous constitutions: Politics and politicians matter, economic outcomes don't. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. Available online 1 October 2011. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2011.09.013

Kisielewski, Michael & Rosa, Juan Carlos & Asher, Jane (2010). Statistical Approaches to developing Indicators of Armed Violence. Geneva: Technical paper prepared by StatAid for Small Arms Survey.

Kotschy, Rainer and Uwe Sunde (2017) Inequality, Democracy, and Institutional Quality. Published in European Economic Review 91(1), pp. 209-228.

Kurkova, Tereza (2015). Vliv nerostneho bohatstvi na uroven demokracie v Latinske Americe. Univerzita Hradec Kralove. Filozoficka fakulta. Katedra politologie. Diplomova prace

Lertangtam, Issares (2014). Unpacking the impact of democracy on terrorism. Albany: University at Albany. State University of New York. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. Department of Political Science.

Lynn, Richard & Vanhanen, Tatu (2006). IQ and Global Inequality. Augusta, GA: Washington Summit Publishers.

Meisenberg, Gerhard (2011). National IQ and economic outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences. Corrected Proof, Aug 2011. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.06.022

Meisenberg, Gerhard & Lynn, Richard (2011). Intelligence. A Measure of Human Capital in Nations. Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies 36(4), 421-454.

Meisenberg, Gerhard & Williams, Amandy (2008). Are acquiescent and extreme response styles related to low intelligence and education? Personality and Individual Differences 44(7), 1539-1550. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2008.01.010

Munck, Gerardo L. (2009). Measuring Democracy: A Bridge between Scholarship and Politics. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Rindermann, Heiner (2007). The g-factor of international cognitive ability comparisons: the homogeneity of results in PISA, TIMSS, PIRLS and IQ-tests across nations. European Journal of Personality 21(5), p. 667-706. doi:10.1002/per.634

Rindermann, Heiner (2008). Relevance of education and intelligence at the national level for the economic welfare of people. Intelligence 36(2), 127-142. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2007.02.002

Rindermann, Heiner (2008). Relevance of education and intelligence for the political development of nations: Democracy, rule of law and political liberty. Intelligence 36(4), 306-322. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2007.09.003

Rindermann, Heiner & Meisenberg, Gerhard (2009). Relevance of education and intelligence at the national level for health: The case of HIV and AIDS. Intelligence 37(4), 383-395. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2009.03.005

Rindermann, Heiner & Sailer, Michal & Thompson, James (2009). The impact of smart fractions, cognitive ability of politicians and average competence of peoples on social development. Talent Development and Excellence 1(1), 3-25.

Saadi, Mohamed (2014). Does foreign direct investment increase exports' productivity? Evidence from developing and emerging countries. International Review of Applied Economics 28, pp 482-506. DOI:10.1080/02692171.2014.896879

Sommer, Jamie M. (2017): Grand and petty corruption: a cross-national analysis of forest loss in low- and middle-income nations, Environmental Sociology, DOI: 10.1080/23251042.2017.1348569

Spruk, Rok (2016). Institutional Transformation and the Origins of World Income Distribution. Journal of Comparative Economics 000(2016), 1-25. doi:10.1016/j.jce.2015.12.012

Suzuki, A. & Loizides, N. (2011). Escalation of interstate crises of conflictual dyads: Greece-Turkey and India-Pakistan. Cooperation and Conflict 46(1), 21-39. doi:10.1177/0010836710396770

Vanhanen, Tatu (2003). Democratization: A Comparative Analysis of 170 Countries. London: Routledge.

Vanhanen, Tatu (2006). Evolutionary Roots of Global Problems. Teoksessa: Aatteet, instituutiot ja poliittinen toiminta (toim. Ruostetsaari, Ilkka), 161-176. Tampere: Tampereen yliopisto. Studia Politica Tamperensis; 16.

Vanhanen, Tatu (2007). Human Diversity Reflected in Levels of Purchasing Power Parity, Democratization and the Human Condition. Mankind Quarterly 48(2), 141-155.

Vanhanen, Tatu (2008). Globaalit ongelmat. Helsinki: Terra Cognita.

Vanhanen, Tatu (2010). On the Evolutionary Limits of Democratization. Mankind Quarterly 51(1), 26-58.

Vanhanen, Tatu (2011). Globaalit haasteet. Demokratia, etninen väkivalta ja eriarvoisuus. Esitelmä Tilastoseuran Globaalit muutokset ja tilastotiede -iltapäiväseminaarissa 4.3.2010. Teoksessa: Suomen Tilastoseuran vuosikirja 2010, 104-115. Helsinki: Suomen Tilastoseura.

Vanhanen, Tatu (2011). National IQs and their demographic correlates. Personality and Individual Differences. Available online 7 September 2011. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2011.08.007

Vanhanen, Tatu (2012). Ethnic Conflicts. Their Biological Roots in Ethnic Nepotism. London: Ulster Institute for Social Research.

Vanhanen, Tatu (2013). Miksi Kiina lähtee lentoon ja Kongo ei? Yhteiskuntien älykkyyserot ja niiden huomiointi kehityksessä. Helsinki: East-West Books.

Vanhanen, Tatu (2014). Global Inequality as a Consequence of Human Diversity. A New Theory Tested by Empirical Evidence. London: Ulster Institute for Social Research.

Vanhanen, Tatu & Lynn, Richard (2004). The Roots of Global Disparaties in Human Diversity. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Hilton Chicago and the Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL, Sep 02, 2004. [2009-05-26].

Wigley, S. & Akkoyunlu-Wigley, A. (2011). Do electoral institutions have an impact on population health? Public Choice 148(3-4), 595-610. doi:10.1007/s11127-010-9686-6

Wigley, S. & Akkoyunlu-Wigley, A. (2011). The impact of regime type on health: Does redistribution explain everything. World Politics 63(4), 647-677. doi:10.1017/S0043887111000177

Woodley, Michael M. (2012) Corrigendum to Inbreeding depression and IQ in a study of 72 countries. In: Intelligence 40(6):639-641.

» Up-to-date description of this dataset in Aila

[Study description in machine readable DDI 2.0 format]

updated 2018-08-14