version 4 released to 1500 users

National Elections Across Democracy and Autocracy

Principal Investigators: Susan Hyde and Nikolay Marinov

On August 4th, 2015, we released an update to the National Elections Across Democracy and Autocracy (NELDA) dataset. The data covers national elections from 1945-2012 in all countries except for micro-states (which are coming soon). A number of corrections are also incorporated into the Version 4 release, so please consider using the updated data even if you do not require the full time range in your research. 

The new data are available by filling out a short form available here or on the project’s website. After filling out the form, you will receive an email with a link to the data. 

UPDATE SEP 2016: We have begun work on a new website for the data.  We also expect that by the end of 2017, the dataset will be (almost) "current" - we expect to take less than a month to add an election that just took place.  Thus the data time-span will be: 1945-present.   


The codebook, which we continue to update with clarifications, is included with the data file, and contains inter-coder reliability tests for the full dataset. We encourage users of the data to consult these indicators when using specific variables.  As always, please let us know whether you find any errors or inconsistencies in the data. The project has already benefitted enormously from many of your comments. 

Best of luck with your research,

Nikolay Marinov & Susan Hyde

More on NELDA:

The National Elections across Democracy and Autocracy (NELDA) dataset provides detailed information on all election events from 1945-2012. To be included, elections must be for a national executive figure, such as a president, or for a national legislative body, such as a parliament, legislature, constituent assembly, or other directly elected representative bodies. Beyond these basic requirements, elections may or may not be competitive, and may have any number of other ostensible flaws. In fact, this last feature of the dataset is what separates NELDA most clearly from other available datasets on elections.

Susan Hyde and Nikolay Marinov launched this project in 2007 at Yale University.  It was generously funded by the MacMillan Center of International Studies.  We have worked with scores of talented and dedicated research assistants (thank you, guys!), who have put in about 10,000 coding hours.  We have used the data to explore how the international community affects democratization.  

I continue to use NELDA in my work on foreign policy and international security.

As of 2015, researchers have downloaded the data 1500 times.  The lead market by downloads is the US (close to 1000), followed by Germany and the UK (about 100 each).  Some of the places where NELDA has been used include Aarhus, ANU, Binghamton, CEU, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Georgetown, Harvard, Jacobs University Bremen, LSE, Michigan State, NYU, Northeastern, Oxford, Penn State, Princeton, Stanford, Texas A&M, Trinity College Dublin, UCLA, UCSD, University College London, University of Essex, University of Florida, University of Mannheim, University of Michigan, University of North Texas, University of Oslo, University of Pittsburgh, Rochester, University of Sydney, University of Zurich, Washington University in St. Louis, Yale.  The list of papers and books citing the accompanying data article help delineate the research community.  Link to the current list, through Google Scholar, is available here.

If you use the NELDA data, please cite the following publication:

Hyde, Susan and Nikolay Marinov. 2012. “Which Elections Can Be Lost?” Political Analysis, vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 191-210