Data Set Description for Chapter 6: The Parliaments and governments database (ParlGov)
Data Exercise Contributor: Jens Wäckerle
The Parliaments and governments database (ParlGov) project 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 provides an interface for 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 present the dataset below. While reading, please keep in mind the questions you see below and answer them once you reached the end. In the end, we will provide a link to a platform with an interactive version of the dataset and additional tasks.
|Which electoral systems tend to have a higher number of parties in parliament?|
|Within electoral systems, there is considerable variation between countries in terms of the number of parties in parliament. Why? Provide examples.|
ParlGov provides data in multiple datasets. The three main ones are cabinet-level data, election-level data and party data. We will only discuss election and party data in this chapter. We will discuss the cabinet level dataset in the online material for chapter 10.
In the election dataset, the unit of analysis is a party in an election. For each election, we have an election type (parliament or European parliament) and a date. For each party the dataset provides vote share, seats, name and left-right position. Similar to the cabinet level dataset, there are id variables to link this dataset to the others. Table 2 shows an example from the last two elections in Greece.
The party level dataset provides information for each unique party in the ParlGov database. The variables include name of the party, name of the party family and some ideological scales such as left-right and libertarian-authoritarian. It also provides a host of id variables to link the dataset to the other ParlGov datasets, but also to a host of external dataset, such as the Comparative Manifesto Project or the Chapel Hill Expert Survey. Table 3 shows an example from the major parties in Greece.
In addition to these three datasets, ParlGov provides additional data sets that can easily be merged with the election, party and cabinet datasets. These include election parameters, for example measures of effective number of parties in parliament, polarization and disproportionality. Table 4 shows an example from Swedish elections since 1970.
Example: Effective Number of Parties and Electoral Systems
Using the election parameters and election datasets, we can study the effective number of parties by electoral system. Figure 1 shows the most recent election in the European countries in the ParlGov dataset, classified according to Figure 6.1 in the book.
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!