The choice of electoral system is one of the most important institutional decisions for any democracy.

In almost all cases the choice of a particular electoral system has a profound effect on the future political life of the country concerned, and electoral systems, once chosen, often remain fairly constant as political interests solidify around and respond to the incentives presented by them.

International IDEA’s Electoral System Design Database provides global comparative data on six variables for the period from 1991 to present. This Codebook provides detailed explanations of the variables and answer options in the Database.


Publication date
30 August 2018
Number of pages
978-91-7671-208-5 (PDF)

Related databases & tools



Electoral System Design: The New International IDEA Handbook
About the Electoral System Design Database
Updates to the Database

Variables used in the ESD Database

Further reading

About International IDEA

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Electoral System Design Database Codebook

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