Lijphart Elections Archive

Research project

The Lijphart Elections Archive (LEA), housed at the University of California, San Diego, is a research collection of district-level election results for several countries. Arend Lijphart began compiling the LEA in the early 1980s. The archive has informed several of the most influential publications on electoral systems and their effects (e.g., Lijphart 1994; Lijphart and Grofman 1984, 1986; Cox 1997). The original scope of the LEA was to collect national election results in hard-copy format for the lower or only house of the legislature and for any directly elected upper house in 27 older democracies. The scope has now been expanded in several directions: more countries, a longer time span, sub-national as well as national elections, and, in particular, data in electronic format.

Dataset

Lijphart Elections Archive (LEA)

Lijphart Elections Archive

Website

Lijphart Elections Archive

Format

On-screen tables/HTML, CSV

Timespan

1945-2003

Coverage

47 countries

Last reviewed

24/11/11

Data types and sources

Election data. The archive also lists publications of election statistics.

Data download

Lijphart Elections Archive

Topics

The archive contains the results of approximately 350 elections. Most datasets cover votes per party, eligible voters and valid votes. Others also include invalid votes, turnout and seat distributions. The variety of sources of the data produces a corresponding heterogeneity in information reported. However, only a limited number of datasets are available online; many of the datasets are only available as printed publications at the UCSD library.

In addition to data on election results the site provides links to Elections Statistics Publications and formulaic matrix for each country covered by the database.

Geographical coverage

The archive contains information on 47 countries, but in many cases data are not available online. Data are also available at district level in some cases.

Time coverage and updates

The temporal coverage varies by country. The long-established democracies are covered for the 1945-2003 period. The database has not been updated with new elections since 2004.

Documentation

Codebooks follow some of the datasets, but generally no further documentation is provided.

Access conditions and cost

Online datasets are available free of charge.

Access procedures

Predefined tables. All data and sources are sorted under country-specific headings. Available datasets are accessible by adjacent links. Most of the datasets are only available in printed publications from the UCSD library, so their utility to scholars in other parts of the world is limited.

Data formats

On-screen tables/HTML, CSV.

Comparability and data quality

Data quality is generally considered to be high, but the LEA does not always guarantee for the validity of datasets mirrored from external sources. These results also run the risk of not corresponding with the original source should it be updated or corrected.

The main weakness of the LEA is the incomprehensiveness of the online resources. Some countries are well covered, while others are not covered at all by the online datasets. The LEA thus only has the potential of serving as a complementary source of election data.

Literature

Coates, Renata G. 1996. Democratic Elections on the Internet: The Lijphart Elections Archive. San Diego: University of California.

Cox, Gary W. 1997. Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World’s Electoral Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lijphart, Arend 1994. Electoral Systems and Party Systems: A Study of Twenty-seven Democracies, 1945-1990. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lijphart, Arend, and Bernard Grofman. 1984. Choosing an Electoral System: Issues and Alternatives. New York: Praeger.

Lijphart, Arend, and Bernard Grofman. 1986. Electoral Laws and their Political Consequences. New York: Agathon.