Dataset described in D. Acemoglu, S. Naidu, P. Restrepo, et al. "Democracy Does Cause Growth". In: Journal of Political Economy 127.1 (2019), pp. 47-100. doi: 10.1086/700936 . Data at the link.



An object of class tbl_df (inherits from tbl, data.frame) with 8733 rows and 8 columns.


D. Acemoglu, S. Naidu, P. Restrepo, et al. "Democracy Does Cause Growth". In: Journal of Political Economy 127.1 (2019), pp. 47-100. doi: 10.1086/700936 .



The country name, as in the original dataset, with minimal modification (Sao Tome and Principe). Use extended_country_name instead if you want a consistent name.


The World Bank Code as in the original dataset.


The democracy variable (1 = democratic, 0 = non-democratic). The supplementary material describes the construction of the variable as follows (I copy, paste, and lightly edit from pp. A1-A2):

We construct our consolidated measure of democracy using Freedom House and Polity IV as our main sources. We also use secondary sources to resolve ambiguous cases (those in which Polity and Freedom house report contrary assessments) or those without data coverage in Freedom House or Polity IV. For instance, Freedom House only covers the period since 1972, so we use secondary sources and the Polity IV index to code our measure of democracy prior to this period. Likewise, Polity IV does not cover some small countries that are in the Freedom House sample and in other secondary sources. The secondary sources are the dichotomous measures introduced by Cheibub, Gandhi, and Vreeland (2010) - henceforth CGV - and Boix, Miller, and Rosato (2012)

  • henceforth BMR. Both measures extend and refine Przeworski et al.'s (2000) measure of democracy. Finally, we use Papaioannou and Siourounis's (2008) data--henceforth PS--which contains the exact year of a permanent transition to democracy for many of the countries in our sample, but that does not include temporary transitions in and out of democracy.

  1. We code a country c as democratic in year t if Freedom House regards it as "Free" or "Partially Free" and Polity IV gives it a positive democracy score (The Polity IV index is between -10 and 10). This procedure generates the bulk of the variation in our democracy measure.

  2. For small countries that only appear in the Freedom House sample, we code them as democratic if their Freedom House status is "Free" or "Partially Free," and either CGV or BMR consider them to be democratic. There is overwhelming agreement between Freedom House, CGV and BMR in all such cases, making the coding straightforward. The only ambiguous case is Samoa, which is coded as "Free" since 1989 by Freedom House, while CGV and BMR both code it as nondemocratic. We follow the latter coding since rulers in Samoa have a long tenure and are appointed to office for life. Besides this particular case, there are some countries for which only Freedom House provides information for the years 2009 and 2010 (the CGV and BMR sample ends in 2008 and 2009 respectively). These include Afghanistan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Dominica, Grenada, Iceland, Iraq, Kiribati, Luxembourg, Maldives, Malta, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Seychelles, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & Grens., Suriname, Sao Tome and Prıncipe, Tonga and Vanuatu. In all of these cases the Freedom House indicator remains the same since 2008, so we assume these countries remain in the same political regime that was in place in 2008.

  3. Freedom House does not provide any data before 1972. For these early years, we code a country as democractic if it has a positive Polity score and either CGV or BMR code it as democratic. There are a few cases coded as nondemocracies by CGV and BMR with a positive Polity score. In these cases, the Polity score is always near zero and we code the observation as a nondemocracy.

  4. Ex-Soviet and Ex-Yugoslav countries are coded as nondemocracies before 1990, based on the USSR and Yugoslavia scores before their dissolution.

  5. When both Freedom House and Polity are missing (174 observations for 16 countries), we rely on our secondary sources and code our measure of democracy manually. The first country is Antigua and Barbuda, which is coded as democratic following its independence in 1981. Barbados is set as democratic from its independence in 1966 until it enters the Freedom House sample in 1972, after which Freedom House codes it as democratic. Germany, Iceland, and Luxembourg are coded as always democratic. This matches the Freedom House coding once they enter into its sample. Kuwait is set to nondemocratic in 1961 and 1962, until it enters the Polity sample in 1963 and is also coded as nondemocratic. The Maldives are set as nondemocratic from its independence in 1965, until they enter the Freedom House sample in 1972 and is also coded as nondemocratic. Malta is set as democratic from its independence in 1964, until it enters the Freedom House sample in 1972 and is also coded as democratic. Nauru is set as democratic from its independence in 1968 until it enters the Freedom House sample in 1972, remaining democratic. Syria is coded as nondemocratic in 1960 when it was not in the Polity sample. It remains nondemocratic in the Polity sample. Tonga is coded as nondemocratic since its independence. This matches the Freedom House coding when it enters the sample. Vietnam and Yemen are coded as always nondemocratic, but they are not in Polity and Freedom House prior to their unification. However, they were nondemocratic according to all secondary sources. Samoa is nondemocratic since its independence based on CGV and BMR for years in which Polity and Freedom House are missing. Finally, Zimbabwe is also nondemocratic in 1965-1969, according to our secondary sources.

  6. We remove spurious transitions created when countries enter or leave the Freedom House, Polity, or our secondary sources' samples. For instance, these spurious transitions arise when a country appears in (or leaves) the sample for one of our sources that gives it a more (or less) favorable assessment than the others. This is the case for Cyprus, Malaysia, Gambia, and Guyana, which we handled manually. The particular coding of these countries does not affect our results. We follow most sources and code Cyprus as democratic after 1974. Malaysia is coded as nondemocratic throughout. Guyana is coded as nondemocratic between 1966 and 1990 and democratic in all other years. Finally, Gambia is coded as democratic between 1965 and 1993 only.

  7. Finally, we perform an additional refinements of our measure and adjust it to match the dates for permanent democratizations that PS coded. These dates are available for 68 transitions in our sample (recall PS only code permanent transitions), and are based on historical sources. Some special cases, for which PS transition dates and our coding are not close in time, include Guatemala, El Salvador, Iran, Tanzania, and South Africa. For Guatemala, our coding described above dates a democratization in 1986, while PS code a permanent transition at the end of the civil war in 1996. For El Salvador, we code the democratization episode in 1982 based on Freedom House and Polity, while PS code it in 1994. We do not detect any transition to democracy for Iran and Tanzania. In all of these cases we keep our original coding. Our coding produces a transition to democracy in South Africa during the early 80s based solely on Freedom House and Polity. However, PS and all secondary sources agree that the official democratization was in 1994, so we use this date.

Our dichotomous measure of democracy is available for 183 countries and covers their postindependence period since 1960 and until 2010. Out of the 8,733 country/year observations, we code 3,777 instances of democracy and 4,956 instances of nondemocracy. Out of the 183 countries, 45 are always democratic, 45 are always nondemocratic, and the rest transition in and out of democracy. A total of 122 democratizations and 71 reversals suggest significant within-country variation in our democracy measure.

Standard descriptive variables (generated by this package)


The name of the country in the Gleditsch-Ward system of states, or the official name of the entity (for non-sovereign entities and states not in the Gleditsch and Ward system of states) or else a common name for disputed cases that do not have an official name (e.g., Western Sahara, Hyderabad). The Gleditsch and Ward scheme sometimes indicates the common name of the country and (in parentheses) the name of an earlier incarnation of the state: thus, they have Germany (Prussia), Russia (Soviet Union), Madagascar (Malagasy), etc. For details, see Gleditsch, Kristian S. & Michael D. Ward. 1999. "Interstate System Membership: A Revised List of the Independent States since 1816." International Interactions 25: 393-413. The list can be found at


Gleditsch and Ward's numeric country code, from the Gleditsch and Ward list of independent states.


The Correlates of War numeric country code, 2016 version. This differs from Gleditsch and Ward's numeric country code in a few cases. See for the full list.


Whether the state is "in system" (that is, is independent and sovereign), according to Gleditsch and Ward, for this particular date. Matches at the end of the year; so, for example South Vietnam 1975 is FALSE because, according to Gleditsch and Ward, the country ended on April 1975 (being absorbed by North Vietnam). It is also TRUE for dates beyond 2012 for countries that did not end by then, depsite the fact that the Gleditsch and Ward list has not been updated since.