Databases

CONSIRT deals extensively with data relevant for cross-national and longitudinal studies. This involves both reprocessing extant survey and non-survey data into new databases, and new data collection. Below are contributions since 2013.

Our flagships for creating integrated databases using existing information are the recently completed Harmonization Project and the new NSF-funded SDR project. Substantively, these studies tap into the wide interest that scholars and policy makers have in the relations between social capital and wellbeing, social capital and political participation, and democracy and political participation. Methodologically, they build on the observation that social scientists have free, public access to a wealth of international survey projects, yet they encounter difficulties in doing comparative analyses because most of the data are restricted to a particular area of the world and to given time periods. The data are often not comparable or even sufficiently documented.

The publicly available HCM database, which the Harmonization Project built, sets the groundwork for the SDR database. It contains harmonized individual-level measures of political behavior, social attitudes, and demographics, metadata for the quality of the source data and for harmonization procedures, and economic, social and political macro indicators. It is a relational database whose core is the MASTER file with harmonized survey data pooled from 22 international projects. Additional files (tables) contain information describing the survey process and metadata for source data quality, and contextual data from publicly available sources (e.g., GDP). These additional data are stored in Plug-files, linked to the Master file by one or more key variables in the form of one-to-many merges.

The SDR database will provide individual-level harmonized measures of social capital, wellbeing, and political participation, their main socio-demographic correlates, together with metadata as variables describing both source data quality and harmonization procedures, derived from 3,112 national surveys from 24 international studies, including the World Values Survey, the International Social Survey Programme, the European Social Survey, and Eurobarometer and its regional editions, among others. Harmonized information will be available for more than 3.5 million people interviewed in ca. 150 countries and different years since 1966. Demographic, political, and economic macro variables for all country-years will complement the individual-level measures.

CONSIRT provides access to unique datasets on political elites in countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The East European Parliamentarian and Candidate data (EAST PaC), collected during a recent Poland NCN grant, contains the near universe of candidates who ran for the national legislature in Poland, Hungary, and Ukraine and spans the 1990s to the 2010s (the Polish data go back to 1985). The data cover altogether three countries, 29 years, 23 elections, and 97,439 unique candidates. The structure of EAST PaC is similar to that of panel data. Data are matched over time, meaning that the same candidate can be identified whenever they appear across successive elections. For details, see electoralcontrol.org/east-pac-data/. EAST PaC is freely and publicly available from Poland’s Social Data Archive.

The Political Inequality Database (POLINQ) database represents a future major product of the project Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time (funded by the National Science Centre of Poland). POLINQ combines two types of data. The first are survey data containing individual-level indicators of political participation and support for political parties. They feature substantial coverage of varying types of modern democratic countries to provide variation in the degree of institutional efficiency and measurement points (i.e. national survey years) in order to gauge social and political change since the 1990s. The second type contains theoretically-informed characteristics of countries from sources such as the Standardized World Income Inequality Database.

The Polish Panel Survey 1988-2013, POLPAN, represents a foundational data source for CONSIRT. POLPAN is conducted every five years since 1988 with adult residents of Poland, using face-to-face interviews. The initial survey, conducted during State Socialism, had a national sample of 5,817 Poles aged 21-65 years. In 1993, this sample was randomly reduced to 2,500 individuals, of whom 2,259 were successfully interviewed. In each of the consecutive five-year waves the goal was to reach the core panel. To ensure an adequate age balance, since 1998 the core panel is being supplemented with additional subsamples involving young cohorts. The 2018 survey round is in preparation. The 1988-2013 data are available free of costs from the project administrators (polpan.org).

POLPAN has drawn the attention of both faculty and students, who have been actively involved at various stages of its planning and implementation. Many former and current OSU and PAN graduate students are among participants of conferences, workshops, and seminars held in Warsaw and in Columbus, and devoted to the design and analysis of longitudinal panel data.