About the Political Database of the Americas

What is the Political Database of the Americas?

The Political Database of the Americas (PDBA) is a non-governmental project of the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at Georgetown University in collaboration with institutions like the Secretariat for Political Affairs of the Organization of American States and FLACSO-Chile, and also with the support of other organizations and entities in the region.

Through its website, the PDBA offers centralized and systematized information about institutions and political processes, national constitutions, branches of government, elections, political constitutional studies and other subjects related to the strengthening of democracy in the region. With more than 1,500 pages of information, the PDBA is one of the most preferred sources of political information on the Internet reaching more than 600,000 users per month.

The information is presented in an objective and independent manner and offered free of charge, facilitating political analysis and debates from a comparative perspective.

Mission of the PDBA

The mission of the Political Database of the Americas is to contribute to the study, promotion and strengthening of democracy in the hemisphere, through the collection, systematization, dissemination, and exchange of information, data, statistics, and institutions from a political perspective, comparative studies; and other resources relevant to the 35 countries of the region.

What does the Political Database of the Americas offer?

The PDBA offers a great quantity of information, classified according to the following themes:

  • Political Constitutions and Comparative Constitutional Studies
  • Executive Branch
  • Legislative Branch
  • Judicial Branch
  • Electoral Data and Systems
  • Political Parties
  • Decentralization and Local Governance
  • Democracy and Citizen Security
  • Indigenous Peoples, Democracy and Political Participation
  • Civil Society

The Political Database of the Americas offers information about the following countries:

Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bolivia; Brazil; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Dominica; Ecuador; El Salvador; Grenada; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Dominican Republic; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; Uruguay; United States of America; and Venezuela.

History of the Political Database of the Americas

During the eighties, the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at Georgetown University began to receive a number of requests for electoral data and constitutions. This demand intensified with the process of democratization undertaken by most Latin American countries from the late 80s onwards. This served as an incentive for the gathering of political information about the democratic processes in the hemisphere and convinced the CLAS director and faculty of the necessity to create a source of systematized, trustworthy and permanent information about the Americas.

In its early years, the project received generous support from the Tinker Foundation and it was developed in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS).

The PDBA, through its collaboration with OAS, was connected to the mandates of the Summit of the Americas. In the first Summit in Miami in 1994, the Heads of State and Government recognized democracy as the only acceptable system of government in the hemisphere, and agreed to create a mechanism for the "exchange of democratic experiences" in the region. The PDBA, formally launched in 1995, was one of the means chosen to achieve that goal.

In recognition of the usefulness of the project, its growing number of users and as a means to secure its continuation, the PDBA has received generous contributions from the United States government since 1997. Additionally, other institutions provide support to the project.

After 10 years of work and research, the Political Database of the Americas is a consolidated non-governmental project recognized for its contribution to the dissemination and exchange of political-institutional information for the strengthening of governability and a democratic culture in the region.

Center for Latin American Studies, Georgetown University

The PDBA is developed and updated by a research team from the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at Georgetown University.

The Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University, founded in 1959, is a renowned institution for both its teaching and its research programs. The Master of Arts in Latin American Studies is today one of the leading programs of its kind, with particular emphasis on issues of democratic governance, economic integration, inter-American affairs, culture and society. The Center has also participated in numerous projects related to democratic governance and has convened several international research conferences pertaining to economic, social, cultural and political issues in the Americas, with special focus on democratic institutional-building.

Copyright and User Information

Questions about the information contained in the PDBA or regarding its functionality should be directed to the Political Database of the Americas at pdba@georgetown.edu. Please review our copyright and user information page for details about how you may or may not use materials that are part of the Political Database of the Americas.