Christine Wotipka sends along a link to a democracy dataset that I hadn’t seen before: “Democracy and Dictatorship Revisited.” It covers 1946-2008 for over 200 countries. The dataset was recommended by her colleague James Vreeland as having significant advantages over the Freedom House and Polity measures.
The dataset is described in the following paper (also available via the link): Cheibub, José Antonio, Jennifer Gandhi, and James Raymond Vreeland. 2010. “Democracy and Dictatorship Revisited.” Public Choice, vol. 143, no. 2-1, pp. 67-101.
I haven’t had a chance to compare with other datasets. But, the democracy variable seems to focus on elections (method of executive/legislative selection, updating Banks) and competitive political parties. Definitely looks useful.