Historical V-Dem

The Historical V-Dem project collects data for numerous indicators of democracy and other institutional features, from the French Revolution to the early twentieth century.

About Historical V-Dem

The Historical V-Dem project codes numerous indicators of democracy and other institutional features, all the way from the French Revolution to the early twentieth century. More specifically, Historical V-Dem covers about 80 polities and extends almost 200 V-Dem indicators as far back as 1789, including about 130 of V-Dem’s expert-coded indicators.

The integration of Historical V-Dem with V-Dem means that many countries have data coverage on numerous V-Dem indicators from 1789 to the present. These include all major countries with continuous lineages as independent states from the 18th or 19th centuries, but also some major colonies such as India and Indonesia. Historical V-Dem also contains several extra, historical polities that have ceased to exist, such as Bavaria and the Two Sicilies.

Further, Historical V-Dem introduces several new indicators – including 20 expert-coded and many more coded by Research Assistants – on various institutional features, some of which were particularly relevant for 19th century polities. To name two examples, Historical V-Dem includes extensive sets of new indicators on the state and features of the bureaucracy as well as on political regimes and their supporting groups.


Historical V-Dem includes two types of indicators – more objective indicators coded by Research Assistants (termed “A indicators”, following the convention in V-Dem) and more evaluative indicators (“C indicators”) coded by historical country experts.

The methodology of Historical V-Dem closely follows that of V-Dem, more generally, but with some exceptions: The most important pertains to the type and number of expert coders. Due to the lower number of true experts on the politics of a country in the 18th and 19th century, compared to in the 20th and 21st, there are fewer “Historical Country Experts” per country.

Given this, Historical V-Dem also followed a different recruitment and compensation strategy, carefully selecting the best available historical experts, and remunerating them for working closely with the coding over an expanded time period. Nonetheless, the lower number of historical coders typically means that the 18th and 19th century scores are associated with somewhat larger uncertainty estimates (as provided by the V-Dem Measurement Model, see below) than the 20th and 21st century scores.

Yet, several measures have been taken to ensure the comparability of V-Dem and Historical V-Dem scores, and that the data from 1789 until today constitute consistent time series. First, Historical V-Dem experts and V-Dem experts code an overlapping period of 20 years (typically 1900-1920) for “their” countries or that country’s successor state (e.g. Germany for Bavaria). Second, all historical experts coded a set of identical anchoring vignettes, in the form of brief descriptions of hypothetical country contexts, for all relevant indicators. Third, many historical experts coded three additional countries for the first year after 1900 with an election. All these measures provide valuable information, which is leveraged by the V-Dem measurement model to make scores comparable across countries and time, and provide uncertainty estimates.

Funding and Organization

Historical V-Dem has mainly been funded through two larger research grants from the Norwegian (Young Research Talent Grant pnr 240505; PI Carl Henrik Knutsen) and Swedish (grant no 2014-1283; PI Jan Teorell) Research Councils.

The Historical V-Dem data collection has been managed from Lund University and the University of Oslo, and in collaboration with Aarhus University, Boston University, Harvard University, Gothenburg University, and the University of Texas at Austin.

Historical Country Experts

The country experts are the most important contributors to the Historical V-Dem data. We are grateful for being able to draw on their expertise and for their efforts. Note that these are the country experts for Historical V-Dem, coding 1789-1900. The country experts for Contemporary V-Dem are confidential.

Country Name Country Name
Afghanistan Dr. Khalid Nadiri Argentina Professor Paula Alonso
Australia Professor Sean Scalmer Austria Dr. Florian Wenninger
Baden Dr. Felix Selgert Bavaria Professor Laura Ulrich
Bolivia Professor Erick Langer Brazil Professor Jeffrey D Needell
Brunswick Professor Klaus Pollmann Bulgaria Dr. Martin Belov
British India Professor Roberto Foa Canada Professor David E. Smith
China Dr. Michael Dillon Colombia Dr. Silvia Otero
Costa Rica Professor David Diaz Arias Cuba Dr. Guadalupe García
Denmark Professor Jens Wendel-Hansen Dominican Republic Professor Eric Paul Roorda
Ecuador Professor Santiago Basabe Egypt Dr. Basak Taraktas
El Salvador Professor Knut Walter Ethiopia Dr. Sara Marzagora
Finland Dr. Johanna Wassholm Finland Dr. Jennica Thylin-Klaus
Finland Professor Julian Wright Germany Professor Thomas Kuehne
Germany Professor Felix Selgert Germany Professor Siegfried Weichlein
Germany Professor Bernd Kasten Germany Professor Laura Ulrich
Germany Professor Alberto Rinaldi Germany Professor Georg Vascik
Greece Dr. Nathalie Soursos Guatemala Dr. Jorge Ramon Gonzales Ponciano
Hanover Professor Georg Vascik Haiti Professor Philippe Girard
Honduras Professor Dario Euraque Hungary Dr. Andras Becker
Indonesia Assistant Professor Marcus Mietzner Iran Professor Ali Ansari
Italy Professor Maurizio Cotta Italy Professor Daniela Felisini
Italy Professor Daniele Pipitone Italy Researcher Laura Di Fiore
Italy Professor Klaus Pollmann Japan Professor Frances Rosenbluth
Liberia Professor Caree Banton Libya Professor Anna Baldinetti
Madagascar Professor Solofo Randrianja Mecklenburg-Schwerin Professor Bernd Kasten
Mexico Distinguished Professor Jaime E. Rodríguez O. Mexico Professor José Antonio Aguilar Rivera
Modena Professor Alberto Rinaldi Montenegro Dr. Vuk Uskokovic
Morocco Associate Professor Richard Pennell Myanmar Professor Roberto Foa
Nepal Professor Roberto Foa Netherlands Dr. Mark Edward Hay
New Zealand Professor Tom Brooking Norway Dr. Jardar Sørvoll
Oldenburg Professor Georg Vascik Ottoman Empire Dr. Basak Taraktas
Ottoman Empire Professor Carter V. Findley Papal States Professor Daniela Felisini
Paraguay Professor Thomas L. Whigham Parma Professor Lucia Togninelli
Peru Dr. Alicia del Aguila Poland Professor Michal Kopczyński
Portugal Professor Rui Branco Romania Dr. Bogdan Mateescu
Russia Dr. Brendan McElroy Sardinia-Piedmont Professor Daniele Pipitone
Saudi Arabia Professor Kristian Coates Ulrichsen Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach Professor Siegfried Weichlein
Saxony Professor Siegfried Weichlein Serbia Professor Danko Leovac
South Korea Professor Michael Seth Spain Professor Juan Simal
Spain Professor Florencia Peyrou Spain Professor Juan Luis Pan
Sweden Dr. Magnus Olofsson Switzerland Professor Martin Lengwiler
Switzerland Dr. Beat Stüdli Tunisia Assistant Professor Ismael Montana
Tuscany Dr. Sheyla Moroni Two Sicilies Researcher Laura Di Fiore
United Kingdom Professor Melissa Turoff Uruguay Professor Daniel Chasquetti
United States of America Professor Christoph England Uzbekistan Anonymous expert
Venezuela Professor Guillermo Aveledo Coll Vietnam Professor Davis Bradley
Württemberg Professor Felix Selgert Yemen Professor Isa Blumi
Zanzibar Associate Professor Beatrice Nicolini