Vanhanen's index of democracy

The Polyarchy dataset is compiled by Tatu Vanhanen, emeritus professor at the University of Tampere and at the University of Helsinki, and covers 187 countries over the period 1810 to 2000. The release of Version 1.0 accompanied an article in Journal of Peace Research (37-2, March 2000). The current version of the dataset is Version 2.0. Both the index and the complete dataset are available for download. This feature was new to Version 1.2 of the database, which was issued in 2000, covering the period 1810–1998. Previous versions of the index were calculated by hand. The index file has seven variables:

    * Vanhanen's country number
    * Year
    * Competition
    * Participation
    * Index of Democracy
    * State name abbreviation from the Correlates of War project (COW)
    * COW country number

For most purposes, the index will be sufficient. However, several choices have been made in creating the index, and some users may want to alter them. The source code for creating the index is available on request.

Vanhanen's original manuscript is also available. We have made 187 PDF files, one for each country.

There are also four previous versions of the index, based in part on manual calculations. These are still available, but we would not recommend them for anything but replication of previous works based on these versions. This especially applies to the 1.1 revisions. Version 2.0 is a major update to the format adopted in Version 1.2, in addition to new and updated data for the years 1998-2000. For any new studies using this data we reccomend only using Version 2.0.

Two new years have been used in a recent study by Lars Wilhelmsen. Click here to download his replication data.


For information, please contact Håvard Strand


This dataset is the result of a collaborative project between Tatu Vanhanen and International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). Work on this project has been supported by grants from the Joint Nordic Committee of Social Science Research Councils (NOS-S) to PRIO and from the US National Science Foundation (SBR-9810092) to Scott Gates of Michigan State University and PRIO.

Polyarchy Dataset Manuscript

Polyarchy Dataset Downloads

Polyarchy Dataset Old versions