Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2019.04.10 edition

Political conditions, protests in autocracies, FiveThirtyEight’s track record, public pension plans, and bird-building collisions.

Political conditions. “The Rulers, Elections, and Irregular Governance (REIGN) dataset describes political conditions in every country each and every month. These conditions include the tenures and personal characteristics of world leaders, the types of political institutions and political regimes in effect, election outcomes and election announcements, and irregular events like coups, coup attempts and other violent conflicts.” The latest dataset covers 200 countries, from 1950 to the present, and includes dozens of variables for each monthly snapshot. [h/t Erik Gahner]

Protests in autocracies. Political science professor Nils B. Weidmann and collaborators have taken tens of thousands of reports — published by the AP, AFP, and BBC Monitoring — of political protests in autocratic countries and have turned them into structured data. The resulting Mass Mobilization in Autocracies Database is available to download (free registration required), and comes with documentation and code examples. The database currently covers 2003–15, with data for 2016–17 in the works.

FiveThirtyEight checks its work. From Nate Silver: “we’ve been publishing forecasts for more than a decade now, and although we’ve sometimes tried to do an after-action report following a big election or sporting event, this is the first time we’ve studied all of our forecast models in a comprehensive way.” You can now explore and download thousands of FiveThirtyEight’s predictions about sports and politics (and their outcomes). [h/t Gavin Freeguard]

Public pension plans. Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research compiles detailed financial data on state and local public pension plans. The database covers fiscal years 2001–18 and includes 180 public pension plans, which together “account for 95 percent of state/local pension assets and members in the US.” [h/t Cezary Podkul]

Bird-building collisions. To study the relationship between artificial light and “flight calling” among nocturnally-migrating species, a team of researchers examined 70,000 instances of birds colliding with buildings in Chicago. [h/t Ben Winger]