Data on democratization

Often, students ask me where to find indicators measuring democracy. Hum. Well known and commonly used is the data provided by, an US-based NGO. Freedomhouse data are handy, but their operationalization and measuring is sometimes quite rough. An other well known dataset, Tatu Vanhanen’s Polyarchy dataset including Vanhanen’s index of democracy, is much more sophisticated but also more complex. Check the CSCW website to get the original data. Updates and additional data by Lars Wilhelmsen can also be found there.

There are many other datasets available, unfortunately there are only few covering a broader range of countries over a longer timespan. E. g. Schmidt (1997, 264-291; 2000, 539-550) gives a good overview of datasets and indicators on democratization.


  • Schmidt, Manfred G., 1997. Demokratietheorien, 2. Auflage, Opladen: Leske & Budrich
  • Schmidt, Manfred G., 2000 (unveränderter Nachdruck 2006). Demokratietheorien, 3. Auflage, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

2 thoughts on “Data on democratization

  1. In fact, the 3rd ed. was first published in 2000, the 2006 edition is a reprint. But you’re right: I received it some days ago and there’s a big difference between 2nd and 3rd edition. Thanks for the hint!

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