The Methodology of “Varieties of Democracy” (V-Dem)1

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  • 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

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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).


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-133
Number of pages27
JournalBulletin of Sociological Methodology/Bulletin de Méthodologie Sociologique
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

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