Data Set Description for Chapter 10: ParlGov

Data Exercise Contributor: Jens Wäckerle

Dataset-Chapter-10.utf8

The Parliaments and governments database (ParlGov) provides two key services: A website that serves as an encyclopedia of elections, parties and cabinets and corresponding ready-to-use datasets that can be easily integrated with other datasets for research projects. The main homepage can be found here and covers all elections, cabinets and parties in all EU countries and most OECD democracies. All in all the website has 37 countries, with around 1700 parties, 990 elections and 1600 cabinets. The database is maintained by Holger Döring and Philip Manow at the University of Bremen.

The dataset can be accessed here. We will introduce one of the available datasets on ParlGov: the cabinet-level data. You will then be able to complete an interactive exercises on government coalitions with this data.

Table 1: General Tasks
Tasks
Beyond obtaining basic facts about election outcomes and governments, what types of questions about governments in European democracies can we answer using ParlGov?
What constitutes the end of one government and the start of another? Parlgov offers one definition for determining the start and end dates of cabinets, but there are others. How might you change Parlgov’s criteria and why?

Dataset Description

ParlGov provides data in multiple datasets. The three main ones are cabinet-level data, election-level data and party data. The election and party level datasets have already been described in the online material for chapter 6.

Cabinet-Level Data

The cabinet-level dataset provides information on all parties in parliament (government and opposition) for each cabinet (the unit of analysis is therefore a parliamentary party during a cabinet). ParlGov defines a new cabinet whenever a government party changes, a new head of government is chosen, a general election is held or a meaningful member (or several members) of the government resign. This means that during one parliamentary term (between two elections), there can be several cabinets. For each cabinet-party observation in the data, the dataset includes an indicator if the party was part of the cabinet or not, whether it was the party of the prime minister, and if the cabinet as a whole was a caretaker government. In addition, we find information about the parties, including the number of seats in parliament, the party name, and the left-right position. Finally (as for all datasets), ParlGov includes identification variables that allow linking the dataset to all other datasets on elections and parties from ParlGov. Table 2 shows an excerpt of the data from three recent cabinets in Greece.

Table 2: Variables in the Cabinet dataset
country_name election_date party_name_short start_date cabinet_name cabinet_party prime_minister seats election_seats_total
Greece 2015-09-20 ANEL 2015-09-21 Tsipras II 1 0 10 300
Greece 2015-09-20 EK 2015-09-21 Tsipras II 0 0 9 300
Greece 2015-09-20 KKE 2015-09-21 Tsipras II 0 0 15 300
Greece 2015-09-20 LS-CA 2015-09-21 Tsipras II 0 0 18 300
Greece 2015-09-20 ND 2015-09-21 Tsipras II 0 0 75 300
Greece 2015-09-20 PASOK 2015-09-21 Tsipras II 0 0 17 300
Greece 2015-09-20 SYRIZA 2015-09-21 Tsipras II 1 1 145 300
Greece 2015-09-20 TP 2015-09-21 Tsipras II 0 0 11 300
Greece 2015-09-20 ANEL 2019-01-13 Tsipras III 0 0 5 300
Greece 2015-09-20 EK 2019-01-13 Tsipras III 0 0 8 300
Greece 2015-09-20 KKE 2019-01-13 Tsipras III 0 0 15 300
Greece 2015-09-20 LS-CA 2019-01-13 Tsipras III 0 0 18 300
Greece 2015-09-20 ND 2019-01-13 Tsipras III 0 0 75 300
Greece 2015-09-20 PASOK 2019-01-13 Tsipras III 0 0 17 300
Greece 2015-09-20 SYRIZA 2019-01-13 Tsipras III 1 1 145 300
Greece 2015-09-20 TP 2019-01-13 Tsipras III 0 0 10 300
Greece 2015-09-20 none 2019-01-13 Tsipras III 0 0 7 300
Greece 2019-07-07 EL 2019-07-08 Mitsotakis Kyr 0 0 10 300
Greece 2019-07-07 KKE 2019-07-08 Mitsotakis Kyr 0 0 15 300
Greece 2019-07-07 MR25 2019-07-08 Mitsotakis Kyr 0 0 9 300
Greece 2019-07-07 ND 2019-07-08 Mitsotakis Kyr 1 1 158 300
Greece 2019-07-07 PASOK 2019-07-08 Mitsotakis Kyr 0 0 22 300
Greece 2019-07-07 SYRIZA 2019-07-08 Mitsotakis Kyr 0 0 86 300

Interactive Activity

Here, you will find an interactive version of the ParlGov dataset and several questions to answer and discuss. We suggest you open this app on a laptop or tablet. Enjoy!

The book introduces students to the most current theoretical and empirical research on European politics, and it does so in a highly accessible way through examples and data visualizations.

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