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Who Governs? A New Global Dataset on Members of Cabinets

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 July 2020

Aarhus University and University of Oxford
University of Oxford
Jacob Nyrup, Postdoctoral Researcher at Aarhus University, and DPhil Candidate in Politics, Nuffield College, University of Oxford,
Stuart Bramwell, DPhil Candidate in Politics, Mansfield College, University of Oxford,


Who governs? This is one of the most fundamental questions in political science. Despite its importance, there is currently no global dataset on governing elites over a long period. This article presents a novel dataset, WhoGov, which contains yearly data on members of cabinets in 177 countries during the period 1966–2016, making it the largest of its kind. We first present how the dataset was created and validate it by matching this data against existing data. We then demonstrate how the data can be used to gain new insights into diverse fields such as the study of autocracies, gender studies, the study of regime types, and government formation. We expect that this dataset will be an invaluable resource for both comparativists and country experts.

© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association

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The authors would like to thank Laure Bokobza, Cecilia Ambrosius Høgfeldt, Winnie Faarvang, Camilla Therkildsen, Jakob Vikner, Sirimon Thomas, Ruairi Maguire, Sara Pripitu, and Isabella Salkeld who made this article possible by helping us creating the dataset. We could not have done this without you. Furthermore, we are grateful to Nuffield College and Aarhus University, which provided generous funding towards the project. In addition, we would like to thank Nancy Bermeo, Ben Ansell, Lasse Aaskoven, David Doyle, Martin Vinæs Larsen, Matthias Dilling, Mads Andreas Elkjær, Jane Green, and Jeremy Wallace for providing helpful comments and support. In addition, we would like to thank the many people, who helped us correct and check the data for their respective countries. These are, amongst others, Hikaru Yamagishi, Alba Huidobro Torres, Aditi Sahasrabuddhe, Said Hassan, Nelson A. Ruiz, Matthew Ho, Geegi P. Burawattana, Ahmed Khaled, Ilona Lahdelma, Ishrat Hossain, Kalliopi Kefalas, Vuk Vukovic, Jenny Chen, Odonchimeg Seseer, Susan Divald, Shikhar Singh, Pau Vall Prat, Asli Cansunar, Safa Al-Saeedi, Domantė Grendaitė, Francis Joseph A. Dee, Endrit Shabani, and freelancers at Upwork. We would also like to thank Indridi H. Indridason for sharing his data. At last, we would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers and the editors of APSR, who, with a few comments, started the most productive months in our lives. Replication files are available at the American Political Science Review Dataverse:


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