Crowdsourcing a dataset: Multiparty democracies, election thresholds and running for parliament

I’ve decided to re-do my old and not too well done 2013 study. It goes like this, for multiparty democracies:

  • Countries differ in the number of houses: 1 vs. 2.
  • Countries differ in the number of seats in these houses.
  • Usually, to get a party on the ballot, one must first collect X signatures. This number X varies.
  • To get a seat in parliament, usually there’s a threshold so that parties below that do not get in, even if they would have gotten >0 seats. This threshold varies.
  • These variations likely have a substantial effect on the party-diversity of parliament.

Apparently, there’s very little academic research on how works, so I collected some data years ago. I found a correlation of about -.50 between election thresholds and number of parties in parliament. Looks like this.


This was all done using sketchy Wikipedia data, so it must be redone. I also failed to realize the number of seats in parliament was a confounding factor.

There’s a spreadsheet here.

So I’m looking for collaborators who can fill in data for countries. I’ve prefilled the sheet with Wikipedia data. But more is needed for a reliable dataset:

  • Find the laws for each country that state the rules for 1) election threshold, and 2) number of required signatures to get on the ballot.
  • Check numbers and update datafile and Wikipedia accordingly.

It’s not easy to collect this data because of the many languages, so it’s a crowdsourcing project. Finding the laws and exact § even if one speaks the language often isn’t easy.

In many cases, judgments must be made because voting systems vary quite a bit. There’s also the question of how to deal with independents. I counted them as 1 party before, but perhaps that’s the wrong approach. Many countries use two-set systems where the national parliament is made up of members or delegates from regional parliaments. Complicated…

If you want to help, send me an email or send me your email on Twitter. Note which languages you want to cover.

So far, have people covering:

  • Scandinavian (including Finland).
  • German
  • Italian

So, need everything else.