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Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)

Research group
Active research
Project period
2014 - ongoing
Project owner
Department of Political Science

Short description

Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) is an international research collaboration that has developed a new, multidimensional approach to measure democracy as objectively and accurately as possible. V-Dem looks at principles of democracy that are far more complex than the mere presence of free and fair elections. We distinguish between five different principles of democracy: electoral, liberal, participatory, deliberative and egalitarian.

One of the world’s most comprehensive data collection projects

V-Dem one of the world’s largest-ever social science data collection projects. A new and updated, open source version is released every year in April, with user-friendly analysis tools available on the project’s website.

V-Dem’s data set includes:

  • More than 450 specific indicators
  • Over 50 different indices of democracy and human rights, civil society, legal system, etc.
  • 27 million data points from 202 countries  covering the period 1789–2018.

V-Dem is an international, collaborative project involving:

  • Over 3,000 researchers and other experts from 180 countries
  • 30 regional heads of research
  • 170 country coordinators • A steering committee comprising nine leading international researchers in the field of democracy.

The complex relationship between democracy and development

We strive to communicate our research results far and wide, and to contribute to a better understanding of the complex relationship between democracy and development. We seek answers to questions such as what conditions must be met in order for democracy to survive and what factors determine women’s share of political power.

World-leading role

Since 2014, the V-Dem Institute at the Department of Political Science has had formal responsibility for this collaboration. Sixteen researchers, programme managers, data managers and assistants work at the Institute.

Contact, länkas

Director, Professor Staffan I. Lindberg

Dr Anna Lührmann, Deputy Director.