Party Policy in Modern Democracies

Research project

The dataset was compiled by Kenneth Benoit and Michael Laver, and measures policy positions of political parties in various countries. The dataset, which in a sense is the successor of a dataset compiled by Laver and Hunt (1992), are presented and analysed in Benoit and Laver (2006).


Party Policy in Modern Democracies

Party Policy in Modern Democracies


Party Policy in Modern Democracies






47 countries

Last reviewed


Data types and sources

Data based on survey of experts.

Data download

Party Policy in Modern Democracies


The dataset contains measures of the policy positions of political parties on various political dimensions. The importance of the policy dimensions to each party is also estimated. Most or all parties are measured on eight central dimensions, including economic policy, social policy, the environment and the general left-right scale. In addition, 30 other dimensions are measured in selected countries only.

Geographical coverage

The dataset covers 47 countries and territories.

Time coverage and updates

Data collected between 2003 and late 2004. Whether the data will be updated is not stated.


Definitions and data collection procedures are explained in detail in Benoit and Laver (2006: Chap. 4 and Appendix A).

Access conditions and cost

Available free of charge.

Access procedures

Predefined table.

Data can also be accessed from a different website, the Database of Parties, Elections, and Governments. Provides downloadable tables within different categories (left-right data for parties, vote and share of seats, and left-right positions/party family classifications) in .csv, .dta, .por, .rdata, .sav and .xlsx format.

Data formats


Comparability and data quality

The dataset is a good source of information on policy positions of political parties, but a potential problem is that data are only available for one point in time. Other problems, which are discussed in Benoit and Laver (2006: Chap. 4 and Appendix A) are issues bias and random error.

Users who are interested in examining these issues and trends over time may find the data from the Comparative Manifestos Project (CMP) more useful.

Electronic resource

The Manifesto Project Database


Benoit, Kenneth, and Michael Laver. 2006. Party Policy in Modern Democracies. London: Routledge.

Budge, Ian, Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Andrea Volkens, Judith Bara and Eric Tanenbaum. 2001. Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945-1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Klingemann, Hans-Dieter, Andrea Volkens, Judith Bara, Ian Budge and Michael MacDonald. 2006. Mapping Policy Preferences II. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments in Eastern Europe, the European Union and the OECD, 1990-2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Laver, Michael, and W. Ben Hunt. 1992. Policy and Party Competition. New York and London: Routledge.