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Political Inequality Index

Resource Type
Dataset : aggregate data
  • Choi, Gwangeun (University of Essex)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
political ineqaulity; participation; representation
  • Abstract

    The Political Inequality Index (PII) is the most comprehensive cross-national measure of political inequality thus far, using objective indicators. This index is mainly based on the two distinct dimensions of participation and representation in the Democratic Performance Index (DPI), which is a new version of the Democracy Barometer (DB). The DPI dataset is available at

    The two dimensions are aggregated by geometric averaging because each dimension is related to political inequality but clearly distinct from each other, providing neither full compensability nor full non-compensability. Consequently, using a geometric mean is an in-between solution. Then the aggregate scores are normalized with the 0-100 scale and reversed to show the level of inequality. One thing to note is that the minimum value of 0 does not mean perfect equality; likewise, the maximum value of 100 does not mean perfect inequality. They just indicate the best or worst level of performance among the observations.

    The PII has two distinctive advantages, compared to other measures of political inequality: first, it overcomes a narrow version of political inequality measure, such as voting, by incorporating representation as well as electoral and non-electoral participation; second, it provides the best available cross-national and over-time data source for political inequality, covering 67 countries including 36 OECD countries over the period between 1990 and 2016, as of 2018.

    The PII allows us to answer the question of to what extent citizens are treated as political equals that have equal voice to influence politics. Securing an equal opportunity or an equal starting point by encouraging political participation and making a more representative political system is crucial for a more democratic and egalitarian society.

    A new version of the PII ("PII_1990-2016_ver2.dta") has been published in December 2019. You can also find how the index has been constructed in this file: "".

Temporal Coverage
  • 1990-01-01 / 2016-12-31
    Time Period: Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1990--Sat Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2016
Geographic Coverage
  • global
Sampled Universe
67 countries: 36 OECD countries and 31 non-OECD countriesSmallest Geographic Unit: country

Update Metadata: 2019-12-01 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2019-12-01

Choi, Gwangeun (2018): Political Inequality Index. Version: 3. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.