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demcon is designed to provide researchers and practitioners with brief literature reviews and programmatic access to several popular polity, democratic, institutional, and constitutional datasets. This package provides comparative context to the datasets in addition to documented functions that help users acquire, process, and visualize widely used political science datasets.

demcon was developed as part of the DANTE Project, which is led by ISciences LLC in partnership with the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), and CASE Consultants International. This project was made possible by generous support from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). DANTE is an open science platform designed to increase accessibility to and accelerate the interdisciplinary study of environmental stresses, demographics, economics, health, political instability, and humanitarian response. The platform is designed to be inclusive and welcomes contributions from environment-security students, scholars, and practitioners worldwide.


You can install the current stable release of demcon from CRAN:

Or, you may install the latest development version over GitLab from DANTE’s GitLab project.


For more detailed information visit the demcon package website.


demcon currently provides brief review or programmatic support for several political datasets:

  • Varieties of Democracy
  • Polity5
  • Freedom House’s Freedom in the World
  • Database of Political Institutions
  • The Economists’ Democracy Index
  • Institutions and Elections Project
  • Comparative Constitution Project:
    • Characteristics of National Constitutions
    • Chronology of Constitutional Events
    • Constitute
  • cshapes

This also includes functions that adapt peer-reviewed methodologies from current high impact publications. These include:

demcon also provides short vignettes that help users acquaint themselves with key constitutional datasets and analytic techniques. These include:

Using demcon

Currently, demcon can be used to acquire, process, and visualize select number of political datasets.

Acquiring Data

Download Polity5, load into the local environment, and delete the downloaded .zip file.

polity<-demcon::get_polity5(load = TRUE, del_file = TRUE)

#> # A tibble: 6 × 37
#>   p5    cyear ccode scode country year  flag  fragm…¹ democ autoc polity polity2
#>   <chr> <chr> <chr> <chr> <chr>   <chr> <chr> <chr>   <chr> <chr> <chr>  <chr>  
#> 1 0     7001… 700   AFG   Afghan… 1800  0     <NA>    1     7     -6     -6     
#> 2 0     7001… 700   AFG   Afghan… 1801  0     <NA>    1     7     -6     -6     
#> 3 0     7001… 700   AFG   Afghan… 1802  0     <NA>    1     7     -6     -6     
#> 4 0     7001… 700   AFG   Afghan… 1803  0     <NA>    1     7     -6     -6     
#> 5 0     7001… 700   AFG   Afghan… 1804  0     <NA>    1     7     -6     -6     
#> 6 0     7001… 700   AFG   Afghan… 1805  0     <NA>    1     7     -6     -6     
#> # … with 25 more variables: durable <chr>, xrreg <chr>, xrcomp <chr>,
#> #   xropen <chr>, xconst <chr>, parreg <chr>, parcomp <chr>, exrec <chr>,
#> #   exconst <chr>, polcomp <chr>, prior <chr>, emonth <chr>, eday <chr>,
#> #   eyear <chr>, eprec <chr>, interim <chr>, bmonth <chr>, bday <chr>,
#> #   byear <chr>, bprec <chr>, post <chr>, change <chr>, d5 <chr>, sf <chr>,
#> #   regtrans <chr>, and abbreviated variable name ¹​fragment

Processing Data

demcon provides functions that automates common processing tasks for political science datasets. In this quick example we load Varieties of Democracy (V12) and use demcon::prep_vdem() to select indicators of interest, index the data to only Correlates of War country-years, drop Palestinian observations, and average values for Serbia and Kosovo (< 2008) and the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (2003-2006).


                        cow_index = TRUE, 
                        drop_pal = TRUE,
                        srb_kos = TRUE, 
                        srb_mon = TRUE)

Visualizing Data

demcon can help you visualize political datasets. In this example we plot we plot constitutional changes in Chile from 1950 to present day.


cce<-demcon::prep_cce(cce, evnttype_fix = TRUE)

plot(cce, cntry = "Chile", years = c(1950, 2022))