Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) is a new approach to conceptualizing and measuring democracy. It is a collaboration among more than 50 scholars worldwide which is co-hosted by the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden; and the Kellogg Institute at the University of Notre Dame, USA.
Project's headquarters are located in the V-Dem Institute in the Department of Political Science in the at the University of Gothenburg.
With four Principal Investigators (PIs), three Project Coordinators (PCs), fifteen Project Managers (PMs) with special responsibility for issue areas, more than thirty Regional Managers (RMs), almost 200 Country Coordinators (CCs), several Research Assistants (RAs), and approximately 3,000 Country Experts (CEs), the V-Dem project is one of the largest social science data collection projects focusing on research.
What makes V-Dem different?
In order to better conceptualize and measure democracy, the V-Dem project:
- Distinguishes among 7 high-level Principles of Democracy:
- Disaggregates into dozens of lower-level Components of Democracy such as regular elections, judicial independence, direct democracy, and gender equality, and provides disaggregated indicators for each conception and each component.
- Covers all countries (and some dependent territories) from 1900 to the present, whenever possible, and provides an estimate of measurement reliability for each rating.
- Makes all ratings public, free of charge, in a user-friendly interface.
These features, taken together, distinguish our project from extant democracy indices.
Through a systematic, historical, and disaggregated approach V-Dem:
- Will provide a full set of indices for each conception and component.
- Allows scholars and practitioners to construct their own indices to suit their own purposes, exploring relationships among very specific elements of democracy over long periods of time.
- Will advance our understanding of the historical process of democratization, shedding light on the sequences by which regimes have developed over the past century, and perhaps providing a glimpse into future.
- Advances our understanding of the causes and effects of democracy, the extent to which regime type matters in the world today.
- Allows for more nuanced understanding than present indicators currently allow.
- Will assist governments, development agencies, and NGOs with country assessments, design of effective programs, and evaluation of the impact of development assistance in the democracy and governance (D&G) area.
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