World Handbook of Political Indicators IV

World Handbook of Political Indicators IV

J. Craig Jenkins

Principal Investigators: J. Craig Jenkins, Director, Mershon Center for International Security Studies

The World Handbook of Political Indicators IV, or WHIV, is a global cross-national dataset that maps contentious political activity on a daily basis from 1990 to 2004. Building on the analytic tradition laid down by three earlier editions of the World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators, WHIV provides researchers with event data that can be used to assess political conflicts in all countries and major territories in the world.

The key question underlying WHIV is, “Who did what to whom?” To answer this, WHIV takes stories from the Reuters international news wire and codes them for a series of event forms such as civil protest, civil violence, state sanctions, state violence, and political relaxation.

Using this data, researchers can answer questions such as:

  • What are the social and political origins of civil protest and violence?
  • What drives state sanctions, repression and violence?
  • How does domestic contentious politics interact with inter-state conflict?
  • Can certain indicators provide an early warning of armed conflict and other state failures?
  • Do civil protest and violence contribute to democratization and other forms of regime change? What is the impact of terrorist violence on civil liberties and political freedoms?

In this project, Craig Jenkins and co-investigators Charles Lewis Taylor of Virginia Tech and independent scholar Marianne Abbot are preparing a university press book to accompany distribution of the dataset.

A grant from the Mershon Center enabled a research assistant to conduct reliability testing by comparing WHIV data to similar datasets that used other types of machine coding as well as human coding. Funds from the Mershon Center and National Science Foundation paid for development of a secure website for ongoing updating and distribution of WHIV data.

The dataset is available in both daily files and annual files and currently covers 231 countries and territories using 40 event forms to identify 263,912 events. It is available on the World Handbook of Politics IV website at


J. Craig Jenkins, Academy Professor Emeritus of Sociology