A New Dataset Compared with Alternative Measurements of Democracy

  • Tatu Vanhanen


Historical data on the measures of democracy are needed for various purposes. Researchers testing hypotheses on democratic peace or domestic civil peace need such data (for example, Ray 1995; Hegre et al. 1997). The same concerns researchers exploring the relationship between democracy and economic development, or seeking causal explanations of democracy and democratization (Hadenius 1992; Karvonen 1997; Midlarsky 1997, Vanhanen 1997). Researchers have formulated various ways to measure democracy, or some aspects of democracy, since the 1950s, but it has been difficult to agree on the measures of democracy and democratization. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a new dataset on the measurement of democracy and to compare it with some alternative dataseis. The Freedom House ratings of political rights and civil liberties since 1973 and the Polity project’s democracy and autocracy scales over the period 1800–1998 provide the most interesting points of comparison. The dataset introduced in this paper covers nearly all independent countries during the period 1810–1998.1


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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2000

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  • Tatu Vanhanen

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