Downloads the 2023 update of the Freedom House Electoral Democracies list and processes it using country_year_coder. The original data is available at, spread over a number of different urls.

download_fh_electoral(verbose = TRUE, return_raw = FALSE, ...)


The "Freedom in the World" dataset from Freedom House, updated to 2022 (Freedom in the World report 2023 edition). Original data and methodology is available at



Whether to print a running commentary of what the function is doing while processing the data.


Whether to return the raw data, without any processing. Default is FALSE.


Other parameters passed to country_year_coder.


A time-series tidy version of the FH electoral democracies dataset, with the following variables:

  • country: The original country name.

  • year: The calendar year. This is approximate. The surveys cover specific periods in the original data that do not always overlap with a single year. In particular, the year 1981 is "skipped" -- a single survey covers Jan. 1981 - Aug. 1982 and its value is assigned to 1982 here. Freedom House did not appear to issue a list of electoral democracies in its 2021 Freedom in the World report, so the year 2020 is not available; but there is a list of electoral democracies for the 2022 report, so the year 2021 is available. 2020 is thus "skipped". (It is in principle possible to reconstruct the list of electoral democracies using the full FH data, but the methodology is a little opaque).

  • electoral: Electoral democracy indicator. TRUE = yes, FALSE = no.

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.


The datasets downloaded by the download_* family of functions are not directly available in this package. You will always need to directly download them in order to use them.


if (FALSE) {
fh <- download_fh_electoral()