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FSD1216 Democratization and Power Resources 1850-2000

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  • Vanhanen, Tatu (University of Tampere. Department of Political Science and International Relations)


agricultural society, competition, democracy, democratization, economic and social development, knowledge distribution, literacy, participation, political power, resources, rural population, students, urban population, urbanization


This large longitudinal study is the result of professor Tatu Vanhanen's long-term research on democratization and power resources. International scientific community knows this data also by the name "Vanhanen's Index of Power Resources". The data have been collected from several written sources and have been published as appendices of five different books. The books are listed in the section Data sources below. The original sources of the numerical data published in these books have been collected to a separate document containing background information.

Vanhanen divides the variables of his dataset into two main groups. The first group consists of Measures of Democracy and includes three variables. The second group is called Measures of Resource Distribution.

The variables in the first group (Measures of Democracy) are Competition, Participation and Index of Democratization. The value of Competition is calculated by subtracting the percentage of votes/seats gained by the largest political party in parliamentary elections and/or in presidential (executive) elections from 100%. The Participation variable is an aggregate of the turnout in elections (percentage of the total population who voted in the same election) and the number of referendums. Each national referendum raises the value of Participation by five percentage points and each state referendum by one percentage point for the year of the referendum. The upper limit for both variables is 70%. Index of Democratization is derived by first multiplying the above mentioned variables Competition and Participation and then dividing this product by 100.

Six variables are used to measure resource distribution: 1) Urban Population (%) (as a percentage of total population). 2) Non-Agricultural Population (%) (derived by subtracting the percentage of agricultural population from 100%). 3) Number of students: the variable denotes how many students there are in universities and other higher education institutions per 100.000 inhabitants of the country. Two ways are used to calculate the percentage of Students (%): before the year 1988 the value 1000 of the variable Number of students is equivalent to 100% and between the years 1988-1998 the value 5000 of the same variable is equivalent to 100%. 4) Literates (%) (as a percentage of adult population). 5) Family Farms Are (%) (as a percentage of total cultivated area or of total area of holdings). 6) Degree of Decentralization of Non-Agricultural Economic Resources. This variable has been calculated from the 1970s.

Three new variables have been derived from the above mentioned six variables. 1) Index of Occupational Diversification is derived by calculating the arithmetic mean of Urban Population and Non-Agricultural Population. 2) Index of Knowledge Distribution is derived by calculating the arithmetic mean of Students and Literates. 3) Index of Distribution of Economic Power Resources is derived by first multiplying the value of Family Farm Area with the percentage of agricultural population. Then the value of Degree of Decentralization of Non-Agricultural Economic Resources is multiplied with the percentage of Non-Agricultural Population. After this these two products are simply added up.

Finally two new variables have derived from the above mentioned variables. First derived variable is Index of Power Resources, calculated by multiplying the values of Index of Occupational Diversification, Index of Knowledge Distribution and Index of the Distribution of Economic Power Resources and then dividing the product by 10 000. The second derived variable Mean is the arithmetic mean of the five (from the 1970s six) explanatory variables. This differs from Index of Power Resources in that a low value of any single variable does not reduce the value of Mean to any great extent.

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