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The Methodology of “Varieties of Democracy” (V-Dem)

Journal article
Authors Michael Coppedge
John Gerring
Carl Henrik Knutsen
Joshua Krusell
Juraj Medzihorsky
Josefine Pernes
Svend Erik Skaaning
Natalia Stepanova
Jan Teorell
Eitan Tzelgov
Steven L. Wilson
Staffan I. Lindberg
Published in BMS Bulletin of Sociological Methodology/ Bulletin de Methodologie Sociologique
Volume 143
Pages 107-133
ISSN 0759-1063
Publication year 2019
Published at V-Dem Institute
Pages 107-133
Language en
Links doi.org/10.1177/0759106319854989
Keywords Aggregation, Democracy, Democratization, Dictatorship, Expert, Index, Indicators, survey
Subject categories Political Science, Sociology

Abstract

This article describes and discusses the new generation of methodological responses to measuring democracy and related issues generated by Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem). V-Dem is distinct in several regards in addition to its unique level of disaggregation, by the combination of: historical data extending back to 1900 and for a large selection among them to 1789 for many countries in the world; use of multiple, independent coders for each evaluative question; inter-coder reliability tests incorporated into a custom designed Bayesian item-response theory measurement model; provision of confidence bounds for all point estimates associated with expert-coded questions as well as for all indices; multiple indices reflecting varying theories of democracy; fully transparent aggregation procedures; and that all data are made freely available, including original coder-level judgments (exclusive of any personal identifying information).

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