New Data Available from the Comparative Constitutions Project

Last week the Comparative Constitutions Project (CCP) released two new data sets. These new data are available for download here.

The first data set is an update to the CCP’s Chronology of Constitutional Events. In addition to making a number of minor changes to previously released chronology data, we added constitutional events that occurred from 2007 to 2013. According to our records, there have been 25 new constitutions and 4 interim constitutions written from 2007 through 2013 and 172 constitutional amendments.

The second data set is a major expansion of the CCP’s data on the Characteristics of National Constitutions. The original release of these data (version 1.0) included only the contents of each constitution in force in 2006. The expanded data (version 2.0) contains all of the “cleaned” data available from the project. This includes data from 524 constitutional systems and nearly 1,500 constitutional events, which equates to more than 8,000 country-years.

The figure below illustrates the relationship between the CCP’s characteristics data and its chronology. The dashed line indicates the number of independent states in each year from 1789 to 2013. The solid line indicates the number of constitutions in force in independent states in each of those years.  The shaded area represents the country-years for which the CCP has released data on the characteristics of national constitutions. Overall, the characteristics data are available for 52% of country-years for which there was a constitution in force. As illustrated in the figure, this percentage varies quite a bit over time, ranging from only having data available for about 40% of countries circa World War II to data available for about 85% of countries for much of the last decade.

Illustrates data released by the Comparative Constitutions Project in 2014

In addition to expanding the sample, version 2.0 of the characteristics data also expands the number of variables released. Over the last few years, we have spent a significant amount of time cleaning variables that we did not deem fit for release in version 1.0. These efforts have allowed us to increase the number of variables released from 766 in version 1.0 to 1,258 in version 2.0, an increase of 64%. Another change you might notice with version 2.0 is that text variables (i.e. answers to opened response questions, article numbers fields, and comments fields) are no longer truncated. In the previous version of the data, these fields were truncated to 244 characters. The new data provides the full text of our coders’ responses for these variables.

The CCP team will continue to make periodic updates to these two data sets as we accumulate and clean more data. In addition, we will continue to post replication data sets for our published work on the site. If you have questions about any of these data or notice any mistakes or interpretation problems, please e-mail us at ccperrors@gmail.com. This will ensure the data contained in those future releases are as reliable as possible.

Until the next release, happy analyzing!

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