To increase the geographic and temporal coverage and variability in the data necessary for analyzing the relation between democracy and political protest in comparative perspective, the Harmonization Project selected 22 well-known international survey projects that cover a total of 142 countries or territories (about two thirds of all world’s states), measured at various points between 1966 and 2013. The survey projects selected for harmonization meet the following criteria:

(1) They are non-commercial;
(2) Designed as cross-national (and preferably multi-wave);
(3) The samples are intended as representative of the entire adult population of a given country or territory;
(4) They contain questions about political attitudes and protest behaviors;
(5) They are freely available for purposes of academic research;
(6) Documentation (study description, codebook and/or questionnaire) is provided in English.

The list of 22 international survey projects which meet the above criteria is as follows:

Asian Barometer (ABS) examines public opinions and attitudes towards political values, democracy, economic transformations and governance around the region, starting in 2001.

Afrobarometer (AFB) collects data about individual values, attitudes and behavior related to democracy, governance, livelihoods, social capital, conflict and crime, markets, participation and national identity. Afrobarometer surveys are conducted in many African countries and are repeated on a regular cycle since 1999.

Americas Barometer (AMB) conducts surveys every two years since 2004 in most countries from North and Latin America. The surveys focus on social and political attitudes, level of trust to various political and social institutions on national and international level, political attitudes and evaluation of current political situation, evaluations of democratic values and  democracy as a system.

Arab Barometer (ARB) captures citizens’ attitudes, values, and behavior patterns relating to pluralism, freedoms, tolerance and equal opportunity; social and inter-personal trust; social, religious and political identities; conceptions of governance and an understanding of democracy; and civic engagement and political participation. The first wave of surveys started in 2006.

Asia Europe Survey (ASES) is a cross-national survey conducted in 2000 in 18 countries: Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. The questionnaire asks about identity, trust, satisfaction, beliefs and actions, and socio-economic position.

Caucasus Barometer (CB) is conducted annually in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. The project began in 2004 (until 2010 it was known as The Data Initiative). Questions ask about trust in political and social institutions, political attitudes and evaluation of current political situation, evaluations of democracy as a system, support for NATO and European Union are asked.

Consolidation of Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe (CDCEE) was conducted in Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic,  Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia,  Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. The data was collected twice: for the first time between 1990 and 1992 and for the second time between 1998 and 2001. The main research topics were the current state of the democratic consolidation in the newly implemented democracies, social and political participation, meaning of democracy, opinions on current political situation.

Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP) is a collection of election surveys across the democratic world, starting in 1990. CNEP surveys focus on common questions personal discussion networks, use of the mass media, political information, political values, attitudes, and participation, and the integrity of the electoral process.

Eurobarometer (EB) was established in 1973. The surveys are organized by the European Commission in order to monitor the evolution of public opinion in all EU Member States and occasionally some candidate countries, thus helping the preparation of texts, decision-making and the evaluation of its work.

European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) collects data on a range of issues, such as employment, income, education, housing, family, health and work-life balance, as well as happiness, life satisfaction, and perceived quality of society. The first round was conducted in 2003.

European Social Survey (ESS) is a cross-national survey conducted in most European countries every two years since 2002. The survey focuses on examining stability and change in social structure, conditions and attitudes in Europe and how Europe’s social, political and moral fabric is changing.

European Values Study (EVS) examines social, political and economic values and attitudes, as well as life conditions, in most European countries. The surveys are carried out every nine years since 1981, and each consecutive wave includes more national samples. EVS and WVS coordinate to include similar question items, and datasets from both survey projects can be combined and used together.

International Social Justice Project (ISJP) is an international collaborative survey project focused on popular beliefs and attitudes on social, economic and political justice. Two large-scale opinion surveys were fielded in all twelve countries in 1991 and in six countries in 1996. In 2000 a second replication was carried out in Germany, and in 2006 in Germany and in other countries replicating the ISJP (Israel, Chile, Czech Republic and Hungary).

International Social Survey Program (ISSP) is a continuous program of cross-national collaboration running annual surveys on topics important for the social sciences. It covers a wide range of issues which relate to social structure, including political attitudes, values, data about education and occupation of respondents.

Latinobarometer (LB) is an annual public opinion survey carried out in most Latin American countries. The surveys explore development of democracy and economies as well as societies, using indicators of opinion, attitudes, behavior and values, and the first wave was conducted in 1995.

Life in Transition Surveys (LITS) has the purpose of assessing public attitudes, well-being and the impact of economic and political change. The program is run by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in collaboration with the World Bank, with surveys in 2006 and 2010 in central eastern Europe and the Baltic states, south-eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States and Mongolia.

New Baltic Barometer (NBB) was launched in 1993 to reflect opinions in three multi-ethnic societies, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, incorporated into the Soviet Union as a consequence of the Second World War. In years 1993-2004 six waves were conducted in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Main topics included political behavior and attitudes, identity issues, and attitudes toward EU accession.

Political Action II (PA2) is a replication of Political Action: An Eight Nation Study (PA8NS), and was carried out between 1979 and 1981 to study satisfaction with material standard of living, interest in politics, perception of privileged and under-privileged groups, opinions on various social and political issues, and ranking of important political goals.

Political Action: An Eight Nation Study (PA8NS) was carried out during 1973-1976 in eight nations: Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, United States, Italy, Switzerland, and Finland. It is focused on various forms and combinations of political activity ranging from voting to protest actions, and on individual propensities to perform these activities.

Values and Political Change in Post-Communist Europe (VPCPCE) focuses on on political values in countries the Former Soviet Union and Central/Eastern Europe. The survey was carried out during 1993-1994.

World Values Survey (WVS) explores a wide range of topics, including people’s basic values relating to politics, economic life, religion, gender roles, family norms and sexual norms. The surveys are carried out every 5-9 years since 1981. WVS coordinates with EVS to include similar question items, and facilitate the merging of datasets from both projects together.

In line with its substantive focus, the project pools information from 1721 survey*wave*countries (i.e. national samples in all surveys carried out in all waves and in all projects) into a relational database, where harmonization procedures will be applied to select substantive and technical variables. For specifics about the relational database and the process of creating the Master table with harmonized variables see Powałko 2014.

Selected International Survey Projects

Abbr. Survey Project Time span Waves Files Data Sets Cases
AFB Afrobarometer 1999-2009 4 4 66 98942
AMB Americas Barometer 2004-2012 5 1 92 151341
ARB Arab Barometer 2006-2011 2 2 16 19684
ABS Asian Barometer 2001-2011 3 3 30 43691
ASES Asia Europe Survey 2000 1 1 18 18253
CB Caucasus Barometer 2009-2012 4 4 12 24621
CDCEE Consolidation of Democracy in Central & Eastern Europe 1990-2001 2 1 27 28926
CNEP Comparative National Elections Project * 2004-2006 1 8 8 13372
EB Eurobarometer** 1983-2012 7 7 152 138753
EQLS European Quality of Life Survey 2003-2012 3 1 93 105527
ESS European Social Survey 2002-2013 6 2 146 281496
EVS/WVS European Values Study / World Values Survey *** 1981-2009 9 1 312 423084
ISJP International Social Justice Project 1991-1996 2 1 21 25805
ISSP International Social Survey Programme** 1985-2013 13 13 363 493243
LB Latinobarometro 1995-2010 15 15 260 294965
LITS Life in Transition Survey 2006-2010 2 2 64 67866
NBB New Baltic Barometer 1993-2004 6 1 18 21601
PA2 Political Action II **** 1979-1981 1 1 3 4057
PA8NS Political Action – An Eight Nation Study 1973-1976 1 1 8 12588
PPE7N Political Participation and Equality in Seven Nations 1966-1971 1 7 7 16522
VPCPCE Values and Political Change in Postcommunist Europe * 1993 1 5 5 4723
Total 1966-2013 89 81 1721 2289060
* Only post-election samples. ** Only selected waves. *** EVS & WVS are in one row because they share one data file. **** Only cross-sectional samples.

Note: The total number of cases refers to all cases in source data files. Data were downloaded in early 2014.