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The Global Legislators Database

The Personal Backgrounds of National Legislators in the World’s Democracies

This article describes the Global Legislators Database (GLD), a new cross-national dataset on the characteristics — party affiliation, gender, age, education, and occupational background — of nearly 20,000 national parliamentarians in the world’s democracies. The database in- cludes 97 electoral democracies with comprehensive information on legislators who held office in each country’s lower or unicameral chamber during one legislative session in 2015, 2016, or 2017. The GLD is the largest individual-level biographical and demographic database on national legislators ever assembled, with a wide range of potential applications. In this article, we provide multiple types of validity checks of the GLD to document the integrity of the data. We also preview three potential applications of the dataset and note other possible uses for this one-of-a-kind resource for studying representation in the world’s democracies.

Keywords: legislators; parliaments; elites; representation

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