How to recreate Pew opinion graphs with ggplot2 in R

Packages we will need


In this blog post, we are going to recreate Pew Opinion poll graphs.

This is the plot we will try to recreate on gun control opinions of Americans:

To do this, we will download the data from the Pew website by following the link below:

atp <- read.csv(file.choose())

We then select the variables related to gun control opinions

atp %>% 
  select(GUNPRIORITY1_b_W87:GUNPRIORITY2_j_W87) -> gun_df

I want to rename the variables so I don’t forget what they are.

Then, we convert them all to factor variables because haven labelled class variables are sometimes difficult to wrangle…

gun_df %<>%
  select(mental_ill = GUNPRIORITY1_b_W87,
         assault_rifle = GUNPRIORITY1_c_W87, 
         gun_database = GUNPRIORITY1_d_W87,
         high_cap_mag = GUNPRIORITY1_e_W87,
         gunshow_bkgd_check = GUNPRIORITY1_f_W87,
         conceal_gun =GUNPRIORITY2_g_W87,
         conceal_gun_no_permit = GUNPRIORITY2_h_W87,
         teacher_gun = GUNPRIORITY2_i_W87,
         shorter_waiting = GUNPRIORITY2_j_W87) %>% 
  mutate(across(everything()), haven::as_factor(.))

Also we can convert the “Refused” to answer variables to NA if we want, so it’s easier to filter out.

gun_df %<>% 
  mutate(across(where(is.factor), ~na_if(., "Refused")))

Next we will pivot the variables to long format. The new names variable will be survey_question and the responses (Strongly agree, Somewhat agree etc) will go to the new response variable!

gun_df %>% 
  pivot_longer(everything(), names_to = "survey_question", values_to = "response") -> gun_long

And next we calculate counts and frequencies for each variable

gun_long %<>% 
  group_by(survey_question, response) %>% 
  summarise(n = n()) %>%
  mutate(freq = n / sum(n)) %>% 

Then we want to reorder the levels of the factors so that they are in the same order as the original Pew graph.

gun_long %>% 
  mutate(survey_question = as.factor(survey_question))   %>% 
   mutate(survey_question_reorder = factor(survey_question, 
          levels =  c( 
           ))) -> gun_reordered

And we use the hex colours from the original graph … very brown… I used this hex color picker website to find the right hex numbers:

brown_palette <- c("Strongly oppose" = "#8c834b",
                   "Somewhat oppose" = "#beb88f",
                   "Somewhat favor" = "#dfc86c",
                   "Strongly favor" = "#caa31e")

And last, we use the geom_bar() – with position = "stack" and stat = "identity" arguments – to create the bar chart.

To add the numbers, write geom_text() function with label = frequency within aes() and then position = position_stack() with hjust and vjust to make sure you’re happy with where the numbers are

gun_reordered %>% 
  filter(! %>% 
  mutate(frequency = round(freq * 100), 0) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = survey_question_reorder, 
             y = frequency, fill = response)) +
  geom_bar(position = "stack",
           stat = "identity") + 
  coord_flip() + 
  scale_fill_manual(values = brown_palette) +
  geom_text(aes(label = frequency), size = 10, 
            color = "black", 
            position = position_stack(vjust = 0.5)) +
  bbplot::bbc_style() + 
  labs(title = "Broad support for barring people with mental illnesses 
       \n from obtaining guns, expanded background checks",
       subtitle = "% who", 
       caption = "Note: No answer resposes not shown.\n Source: Survey of U.S. adults conducted April 5-11 2021.") + 
  scale_x_discrete(labels = c(
    "Allowing people to carry conealed \n guns without a person",
    "Shortening waiting periods for people \n who want to buy guns leagally",
    "Allowing reachers and school officials \n to carry guns in K-12 school",
    "Allowing people to carry \n concealed guns in more places",
    "Banning assault-style weapons",
    "Banning high capacity ammunition \n magazines that hold more than 10 rounds",
    "Creating a federal government \n database to track all gun sales",
    "Making private gun sales \n subject to background check",
    "Preventing people with mental \n illnesses from purchasing guns"
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Unfortunately this does not have diverving stacks from the middle of the graph

We can make a diverging stacked bar chart using function likert() from the HH package.

For this we want to turn the dataset back to wider with a column for each of the responses (strongly agree, somewhat agree etc) and find the frequency of each response for each of the questions on different gun control measures.

Then with the likert() function, we take the survey question variable and with the ~tilda~ make it the product of each response. Because they are the every other variable in the dataset we can use the shorthand of the period / fullstop.

We use positive.order = TRUE because we want them in a nice descending order to response, not in alphabetical order or something like that

gun_reordered %<>%
    filter(! %>%  
  select(survey_question, response, freq) %>%  
  pivot_wider(names_from = response, values_from = freq ) %>%
  ungroup() %>% 
  HH::likert(survey_question ~., positive.order = TRUE,
            main =  "Broad support for barring people with mental illnesses
            \n from obtaining guns, expanded background checks")

With this function, it is difficult to customise … but it is very quick to make a diverging stacked bar chart.

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If we return to ggplot2, which is more easy to customise … I found a solution on Stack Overflow! Thanks to this answer! The solution is to put two categories on one side of the centre point and two categories on the other!

gun_reordered %>% 
filter(! %>% 
  mutate(frequency = round(freq * 100), 0) -> gun_final

And graph out

ggplot(data = gun_final, aes(x = survey_question_reorder, 
            fill = response)) +
  geom_bar(data = subset(gun_final, response %in% c("Strongly favor",
           "Somewhat favor")),
           aes(y = -frequency), position="stack", stat="identity") +
  geom_bar(data = subset(gun_final, !response %in% c("Strongly favor",
            "Somewhat favor")), 
           aes(y = frequency), position="stack", stat="identity") +
  coord_flip() + 
  scale_fill_manual(values = brown_palette) +
  geom_text(data = gun_final, aes(y = frequency, label = frequency), size = 10, color = "black", position = position_stack(vjust = 0.5)) +
  bbplot::bbc_style() + 
  labs(title = "Broad support for barring people with mental illnesses 
       \n from obtaining guns, expanded background checks",
       subtitle = "% who", 
       caption = "Note: No answer resposes not shown.\n Source: Survey of U.S. adults conducted April 5-11 2021.") + 
  scale_x_discrete(labels = c(
    "Allowing people to carry conealed \n guns without a person",
    "Shortening waiting periods for people \n who want to buy guns leagally",
    "Allowing reachers and school officials \n to carry guns in K-12 school",
    "Allowing people to carry \n concealed guns in more places",
    "Banning assault-style weapons",
    "Banning high capacity ammunition \n magazines that hold more than 10 rounds",
    "Creating a federal government \n database to track all gun sales",
    "Making private gun sales \n subject to background check",
    "Preventing people with mental \n illnesses from purchasing guns"
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Next to complete in PART 2 of this graph, I need to figure out how to add lines to graphs and add the frequency in the correct place

How to tidy up messy Wikipedia data with dplyr in R

Packages we will need:


To see another blog post that focuses on cleaning messy strings and dates, click here to read

We are going to look at Irish embassies and missions around the world. Where are the embassies, and which country has the most missions (including embassies, consulates and representational offices)?

Let’s first scrape the embassy data from the Wikipedia page. Here is how it looks on the webpage.

It is a bit confusing because Ireland does not have a mission in every country. Argentina, for example, is the embassy for Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

Also, there are some consulates-general and other mission types.

Some countries have more than one mission, such as UK, Canada, US etc. So we are going to try and clean up this data.

Click here to read more about scraping data with the rvest package

embassies_html <- read_html("")

embassies_tables <- embassies_html %>% html_table(header = TRUE, fill = TRUE)

We will extract the data from the different continent tables and then bind them all together at the end.

africa_emb <- embassies_tables[[1]]

africa_emb %<>% 
  mutate(continent = "Africa")

americas_emb <- embassies_tables[[2]]

americas_emb %<>% 
  mutate(continent = "Americas")

asia_emb <- embassies_tables[[3]]

asia_emb %<>% 
  mutate(continent = "Asia")

europe_emb <- embassies_tables[[4]]

europe_emb %<>% 
  mutate(continent = "Europe")

oceania_emb <- embassies_tables[[5]]

oceania_emb %<>% 
  mutate(continent = "Oceania")

Last, we bind all the tables together by rows, with rbind()

ire_emb <- rbind(africa_emb, 

And clean up the names with the janitor package

ire_emb %<>% 

There is a small typo with a hypen and so there are separate Consulate General and Consulate-General… so we will clean that up to make one single factor level.

ire_emb %<>% 
  mutate(mission = ifelse(mission == "Consulate General", "Consulate-General", mission))

We can count out how many of each type of mission there are

ire_emb %>% 
  group_by(mission) %>% 
  count() %>% 
  arrange(desc(n)) %>% 
  knitr::kable(format = "html")
mission n
Embassy 69
Consulate-General 17
Liaison office 1
Representative office 1

A quick waffle plot

ire_emb %>% 
  group_by(mission) %>%
  count() %>% 
  arrange(desc(n)) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  ggplot(aes(fill = mission, values = n)) +
  geom_waffle(color = "white", size = 1.5, 
              n_rows = 20, flip = TRUE) + 
  bbplot::bbc_style() +
  scale_fill_manual(values= wes_palette("Darjeeling1", n = 4))

We can remove the notes in brackets with the sub() function.

Square brackets equire a regex code \\[.*

ire_emb %<>% 
  select(!ref) %>%
  mutate(host_country = sub("\\[.*", "", host_country))

We delete the subheadings from the concurrent_accreditation column with the str_remove() function from the stringr package

ire_emb %<>%
  mutate(concurrent_accreditation = stringr::str_remove(concurrent_accreditation, "International Organizations:\n")) %>% 
  mutate(concurrent_accreditation = stringr::str_remove(concurrent_accreditation, "Countries:\n"))

After that, we will tackle the columns with many countries. The many variables in one cell violates the principles of tidy data.

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For example, we saw above that Argentina is the embassy for three other countries.

We will use the separate() function from the tidyr package to make a column for each country that shares an embassy with the host country.

This separate() function has six arguments:

First we indicate the column with will separate out with the col argument

Next with into, we write the new names of the columns we will create. Nigeria has the most countries for which it is accredited to be the designated embassy with nine. So I create nine accredited countries columns to accommodate this max number.

The point I want to cut up the original column is at the \n which is regex for a large space

I don’t want to remove the original column so I set remove to FALSE

ire_emb %<>%
    col = "concurrent_accreditation",
    into = c("acc_1", "acc_2", "acc_3", "acc_4", "acc_5", "acc_6", "acc_7", "acc_8", "acc_9"),
    sep = "\n",
    remove = FALSE,
    extra = "warn",
    fill = "warn") %>% 
  mutate(across(where(is.character), str_trim)) 

Some countries have more than one type of mission, so I want to count each type of mission for each country and create a new variable with the distinct() and pivot_wider() functions

Click here to read more about turning long to wide format data

With the across() function we can replace all numeric variables with NA to zeros

Click here to read more about the across() function

ire_emb %>% 
  group_by(host_country, mission) %>% 
  mutate(number_missions = n())  %>% 
  distinct(host_country, mission, .keep_all = TRUE) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  pivot_wider(!c(host_city, concurrent_accreditation:count_accreditation), 
              names_from = mission, 
              values_from = number_missions) %>% 
  janitor::clean_names() %>% 
  mutate(across(where(is.numeric), ~ replace_na(., 0))) %>% 
  select(!host_country) -> ire_wide

Before we bind the two datasets together, we need to only have one row for each country.

ire_emb %>% 
  distinct(host_country, .keep_all = TRUE) -> ire_dist

And bind them together:

ire_full <- cbind(ire_dist, ire_wide) 
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We can graph out where the embassies are with the geom_polygon() in ggplot

First we download the map data from dplyr and add correlates of war codes so we can easily join the datasets together with right_join()

First, we add correlates of war codes

Click here to read more about the countrycode package

ire_full %<>%
    mutate(cown = countrycode(host_country, "", "cown")) 
world_map <- map_data("world")

world_map %<>% 
  mutate(cown = countrycode::countrycode(region, "", "cown"))

I reorder the variables with the fct_relevel() function from the forcats package. This is just so they can better match the color palette from wesanderson package. Green means embassy, red for no mission and orange for representative office.

ire_full %>%
  right_join(world_map, by = "cown") %>% 
  filter(region != "Antarctica") %>% 
  mutate(mission = ifelse(, replace_na("No Mission"), mission)) %>% 
  mutate(mission = forcats::fct_relevel(mission,c("No Mission", "Embassy","Representative office"))) %>%
  ggplot(aes(x = long, y = lat, group = group)) + 
  geom_polygon(aes(fill = mission), color = "white", size = 0.5)  -> ire_map

And we can change how the map looks with the ggthemes package and colors from wesanderson package

  ire_map + ggthemes::theme_map() +
  theme(legend.key.size = unit(3, "cm"),
        text = element_text(size = 30),
        legend.title = element_blank()) + 
  scale_fill_manual(values = wes_palette("Darjeeling1", n = 4))

And we can count how many missions there are in each country

US has the hightest number with 8 offices, followed by UK with 4 and China with 3

ire_full %>%
  right_join(world_map, by = "cown") %>% 
  filter(region != "Antarctica") %>% 
  mutate(sum_missions = rowSums(across(embassy:representative_office))) %>% 
  mutate(sum_missions = replace_na(sum_missions, 0)) %>%  
  ggplot(aes(x = long, y = lat, group = group)) + 
  geom_polygon(aes(fill = as.factor(sum_missions)), color = "white", size = 0.5)  +
  ggthemes::theme_map() +
  theme(legend.key.size = unit(3, "cm"),
        text = element_text(size = 30),
        legend.title = element_blank()) + 
scale_fill_brewer(palette = "RdBu") + 
  ggtitle("Number of Irish missions in each country",
          subtitle = "Source: Wikipedia")

Last we can count the number of accredited countries that each embassy has. Nigeria has the most, in charge of 10 other countries across northern and central Africa.

ire_full %>% 
  right_join(world_map, by = "cown") %>% 
  filter(region != "Antarctica") %>%
  mutate(count_accreditation = str_count(concurrent_accreditation, pattern = "\n")) %>% 
  mutate(count_accreditation = replace_na(count_accreditation, -1)) %>%  
  ggplot(aes(x = long, y = lat, group = group)) + 
  geom_polygon(aes(fill = as.factor(count_accreditation)), color = "white", size = 0.5)  +
  ggthemes::theme_fivethirtyeight() +
  theme(legend.key.size = unit(1, "cm"),
        text = element_text(size = 30),
        legend.title = element_blank()) + 
  ggtitle("Number of Irish missions in extra accreditations",
          subtitle = "Source: Wikipedia")
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Running tidy t-tests with the infer package in R

Packages we will need:


For this t-test, we will compare US millenials and non-millenials and their views of the UK’s influence in the world.

The data will come from Chicago Council Survey of American Public Opinion on U.S. Foreign Policy

Click here to download 2017 policy survey data

The survey investigates American public opinion on foreign policy. It focuses on respondents’ opinions of the United States’ leadership role in the world and the challenges the country faces domestically and internationally.

The question on the UK’s influence asks how much influence you think the UK has in the world. Please answer on a 0 to 10 scale; with 0 meaning they are not at all influential and 10 meaning they are extremely influential.

First we select and recreate the variables

fp %>%
    uk_influence = Q50_10) %>%
    col = milennial,
    into = c("milennial_num", "milennial_char"),
    sep = '[)]',
    remove = TRUE) %>% 
     uk_influence = as.character(uk_influence),
     uk_influence = parse_number(uk_influence)) %>% 
  filter(uk_influence != -1) %>% 
  tidyr::drop_na(milennial_char) -> mil_fp

With the infer package, we can run a t-test:

mil_fp %>% 
  t_test(formula = uk_influence ~ milennial_char,
         alternative = "less")%>% 
  kable(format = "html")
statistic t_df p_value alternative estimate lower_ci upper_ci
-3.048249 1329.469 0.0011736 less -0.3274509 -Inf -0.1506332

There is a statistically significant difference between milennials and non-milennials.

We can graph a box plot.

mil_fp %>% 
  ggplot(mapping = aes(x = milennial_char,
                       y = uk_influence,
                       fill = milennial_char)) +
  geom_jitter(aes(color = milennial_char),
              size = 2, alpha = 0.5, width = 0.3) +
  geom_boxplot(alpha = 0.4) +
  coord_flip() + bbplot::bbc_style() +
  scale_fill_manual(values = my_palette) + 
  scale_color_manual(values = my_palette)

And a quick graph to compare UK with other countries: Germany and South Korea

mil_fp %>% 
  select(milennial_char, uk_influence, sk_influence, ger_influence) %>% 
  pivot_longer(!milennial_char, names_to = "survey_question", values_to = "response")  %>% 
  group_by(survey_question, response) %>% 
  summarise(n = n()) %>%
  mutate(freq = n / sum(n)) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  filter(! %>% 
  mutate(survey_question = case_when(survey_question == "uk_influence" ~ "UK",
survey_question == "ger_influence" ~ "Germany",
survey_question == "sk_influence" ~ "South Korea",
TRUE ~ as.character(survey_question))) %>% 
  ggplot() +
  geom_bar(aes(x = forcats::fct_reorder(survey_question, freq), 
               y = freq, fill = as.factor(response)), 
           color = "#e5e5e5", 
           size = 2, 
           position = "stack",
           stat = "identity") + 
  coord_flip() + 
  scale_fill_brewer(palette = "RdBu") + 
  ggthemes::theme_fivethirtyeight() + 
  ggtitle("View of Influence in the world?") +
  theme(legend.title = element_blank(),
        legend.position = "top",
        legend.key.size = unit(0.78, "cm"),
        text = element_text(size = 25),
        legend.text = element_text(size = 20))

Check model assumptions with easystats package in R

Packages we will need:

install.packages("easystats", repos = "")

Easystats is a collection of R packages, which aims to provide a unifying and consistent framework to tame, discipline, and harness the scary R statistics and their pesky models, according to their github repo.

Click here to browse the github and here to go to the specific perfomance package CRAN PDF

First run your regression. I will try to explain variance is Civil Society Organization participation (CSOs) with the independent variables in my model with Varieties of Democracy data in 1990.

cso_model <- lm(cso_part ~ education_level + mortality_rate + democracy,data = vdem_90)
Dependent variable:
Adjusted R20.682
Residual Std. Error0.154 (df = 130)
F Statistic96.243*** (df = 3; 130)
Note:*p<0.1; **p<0.05; ***p<0.01
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Then we check the assumptions:


Comparing North and South Korean UN votes at the General Assembly with unvotes package

Packages we will use


Last September 17th 2021 marked the 30th anniversary of the entry of North Korea and South Korea into full membership in the United Nations. Prior to this, they were only afforded observer status.

The Two Koreas Mark 30 Years of UN Membership: The Road to Membership

Let’s look at the types of voting that both countries have done in the General Assembly since 1991.

First we can download the different types of UN votes from the unvotes package

un_votes <- unvotes::un_roll_calls

un_votes_issues <- unvotes::un_roll_call_issues

unvotes::un_votes -> country_votes 

Join them all together and filter out any country that does not have the word “Korea” in its name.

un_votes %>% 
  inner_join(un_votes_issues, by = "rcid") %>% 
  inner_join(country_votes, by = "rcid") %>% 
  mutate(year = format(date, format = "%Y")) %>%
  filter(grepl("Korea", country)) -> korea_un

First we can make a wordcloud of all the different votes for which they voted YES. Is there a discernable difference in the types of votes that each country supported?

First, download the stop words that we can remove (such as the, and, if)


Then I will make a North Korean dataframe of all the votes for which this country voted YES. I remove some of the messy formatting with the gsub argument and count the occurence of each word. I get rid of a few of the procedural words that are more related to the technical wording of the resolutions, rather than related to the tpoic of the vote.

nk_yes_votes <- korea_un %>% 
  filter(country == "North Korea") %>% 
  filter(vote == "yes") %>%  
  select(descr, year) %>% 
  mutate(decade = substr(year, 1, 3)) %>% 
  mutate(decade = paste0(decade, "0s")) %>% 
  # group_by(decade) %>% 
  unnest_tokens(word, descr) %>% 
  mutate(word = gsub(" ", "", word)) %>% 
  mutate(word = gsub('_', '', word)) %>% 
  count(word, sort = TRUE) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  anti_join(stop_words)  %>% 
  mutate(word = case_when(grepl("palestin", word) ~ "Palestine", 
                          grepl("nucl", word) ~ "nuclear",
                          TRUE ~ as.character(word)))  %>%
  filter(word != "resolution") %>% 
  filter(word != "assembly") %>% 
  filter(word != "draft") %>% 
  filter(word != "committee") %>% 
  filter(word != "requested") %>% 
  filter(word != "report") %>% 
  filter(word != "practices") %>% 
  filter(word != "affecting") %>% 
  filter(word != "follow") %>% 
  filter(word != "acting") %>% 
  filter(word != "adopted") 

Next, we count the number of each word

nk_yes_votes %<>% 
  count(word) %>% 

We want to also remove the numbers

nums <- nk_yes_votes %>% filter(str_detect(word, "^[0-9]")) %>% select(word) %>% unique()

And remove the stop words

nk_yes_votes %<>%
  anti_join(nums, by = "word")

Choose some nice colours

my_colors <- c("#0450b4", "#046dc8", "#1184a7","#15a2a2", "#6fb1a0", 
               "#b4418e", "#d94a8c", "#ea515f", "#fe7434", "#fea802")

And lastly, plot the wordcloud with the top 50 words

   random.order = FALSE, 
   max.words = 50, 
   colors = my_colors)

If we repeat the above code with South Korea:

There doesn’t seem to be a huge difference. But this is not a very scientfic approach; I just like the look of them!

Next we will compare the two countries how many votes they voted yes, no or abstained from…

korea_un %>% 
  group_by(country, vote) %>% 
  count() %>% 
  mutate(count_ten = n /25) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  ggplot(aes(fill = vote, values = count_ten)) +
  geom_waffle(color = "white",
              size = 2.5,
              n_rows = 10,
              flip = TRUE) +
  facet_wrap(~country) + bbplot::bbc_style() +
  scale_fill_manual(values = wesanderson::wes_palette("Darjeeling1"))

Next we can look more in detail at the votes that they countries abstained from voting in.

We can use the tidytext function that reorders the geom_bar in each country. You can read the blog of Julie Silge to learn more about the functions, it is a bit tricky but it fixes the problem of randomly ordered bars across facets.

korea_un %>%
  filter(vote == "abstain") %>% 
  mutate(issue = case_when(issue == "Nuclear weapons and nuclear material" ~ "Nukes",
issue == "Arms control and disarmament" ~ "Arms",
issue == "Palestinian conflict" ~ "Palestine",
TRUE ~ as.character(issue))) %>% 
  select(country, issue, year) %>% 
  group_by(issue, country) %>% 
  count() %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  group_by(country) %>% 
  mutate(country = as.factor(country),
         issue = reorder_within(issue, n, country)) %>%
  ggplot(aes(x = reorder(issue, n), y = n)) + 
  geom_bar(stat = "identity", width = 0.7, aes(fill = country)) + 
  labs(title = "Abstaining UN General Assembly Votes by issues",
       subtitle = ("Since 1950s"),
       caption = "         Source: unvotes ") +
  xlab("") + 
  ylab("") +
  facet_wrap(~country, scales = "free_y") +
  scale_x_reordered() +
  coord_flip() + 
  expand_limits(y = 65) + 
  ggthemes::theme_pander() + 
  scale_fill_manual(values = sample(my_colors)) + 
 theme(plot.background = element_rect(color = "#f5f9fc"),
        panel.grid = element_line(colour = "#f5f9fc"),
        # axis.title.x = element_blank(),
        # axis.text.x = element_blank(),
        axis.text.y = element_text(color = "#000500", size = 16),
       legend.position = "none",
        # axis.title.y = element_blank(),
        axis.ticks.x = element_blank(),
        text = element_text(family = "Gadugi"),
        plot.title = element_text(size = 28, color = "#000500"),
        plot.subtitle = element_text(size = 20, color = "#484e4c"),
        plot.caption = element_text(size = 20, color = "#484e4c"))

South Korea was far more likely to abstain from votes that North Korea on all issues

Next we can simply plot out the Human Rights votes that each country voted to support. Even though South Korea has far higher human rights scores, North Korea votes in support of more votes on this topic.

korea_un %>% 
  filter(year < 2019) %>% 
  filter(issue == "Human rights") %>% 
  filter(vote == "yes") %>% 
  group_by(country, year) %>% 
  count() %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = year, y = n, group = country, color = country)) + 
  geom_line(size = 2) + 
  geom_point(aes(color = country), fill = "white", shape = 21, size = 3, stroke = 2.5) +
  scale_x_discrete(breaks = round(seq(min(korea_un$year), max(korea_un$year), by = 10),1)) +
  scale_y_continuous(expand = c(0, 0), limits = c(0, 22)) + 
  bbplot::bbc_style() + facet_wrap(~country) + 
  theme(legend.position = "none") + 
  scale_color_manual(values = sample(my_colors)) + 
  labs(title = "Human Rights UN General Assembly Yes Votes ",
       subtitle = ("Since 1990s"),
       caption = "         Source: unvotes ")

All together:

Wrangling and graphing UN Secretaries-General data with R

Packages we will need:


According to Urquhart (1995) in his article, “Selecting the World’s CEO”,

From the outset, the U.N. secretary
general has been an important part of the
institution, not only as its chief executive,
but as both symbol and guardian of the
original vision of the organization.
There, however, specific agreement has
ended. The United Nations, like any
important organization, needs strong and
independent leadership, but it is an inter-
governmental organization, and govern
ments have no intention of giving up
control of it. While the secretary-general
can be extraordinarily useful in times of
crisis, the office inevitably embodies
something more than international coop
eration, sometimes even an unwelcome
hint of supranationalism. Thus, the atti-
tude of governments toward the United
Nations’ chief and only elected official is
and has been necessarily ambivalent.

(Urquhart, 1995: 21)

So who are these World CEOs? We’ll examine more in this dataset.

First, we will scrape the data from the Wikipedia

sg_html <- read_html("")
sg_tables <- sg_html %>% html_table(header = TRUE, fill = TRUE)
sg <- sg_tables[[2]]

The table we scrape is a bit of a hot mess in this state …. but we can fix it

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We can first use the clean_names() function from the janitor package

A quick way to clean up the table and keep only the rows with the names of the Secretaries-General is to use the distinct() function. Last we filter out the rows and select out the columns we don’t want.

sg %>% 
  clean_names() %>% 
  distinct(no, .keep_all = TRUE) %>% 
  filter(no != "–") %>% 
  select(!c(portrait, ref))-> sg_clean

Already we can see a much cleaner table. However, the next problem is that the names and their years of birth / death are in one cell.

Also the dates in office are combined together.

So we can use the separate() function from tidyr to make new variables for each piece of information.

First we will separate the name of the Secretary-General from their date of birth and death.

We supply the two new variable names to the into = argument.

We then use the regex code pattern [()] to indicate where we want to separate the character string into two separate columns. In this instance the regex pattern is for what is after the round brackets (

I want to remove the original cluttered varaible so remove = TRUE

sg_clean %<>% 
    col = secretary_general_born_died,
    into = c("sec_gen", "born_died"),
    sep = '[()]',
    remove = TRUE) 

We can repeat this step to create a separate born and died variable. This time the separator symbol is a hyphen And so we do not need regex pattern; we can just indicate a hyphen.

sg_clean %<>% 
    col = born_died,
    into = c("born", "died"),
    sep = '–',
    remove = TRUE)  

And I want to ignore the “present” variable, so I extract the numbers with the parse_number() function, converting things from characters to numbers

sg_clean %<>% 
  mutate(born = parse_number(born))

Last, we repeat with the dates in office. This is also easily seperated by indicating the hyphen.

sg_clean %<>% 
    col = dates_in_office,
    into = c("start_office", "end_office"),
    sep = '–',
    remove = TRUE)  

We convert the word “present” to the actual present date

sg_clean %<>% 
  mutate(end_office = ifelse(end_office == "present", "5 May 2022", end_office))

We use the lubridate dmy() function to convert the character strings to date class variables.

sg_clean %<>% 
  mutate(start_office = dmy(start_office),
         end_office = dmy(end_office))

We can calculate the length of time that each Secretary-General was in office with the difftime() function.

sg_clean %<>% 
  mutate(duration_days = difftime(end_office, start_office, units = "days"),
         duration_years = round(duration_days / 365, 2),
         duration_years = as.integer(duration_years))

Next we can compare the different durations and see which Secretary-General was longest or shortest in office.

sg_clean %>% 
  mutate(duration_days = difftime(end_office, start_office)) %>%  
  mutate(iso2 = tolower(countrycode::countrycode(country_of_origin, "", "iso2c"))) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = forcats::fct_reorder(sec_gen, duration_days), y = duration_days)) + 
  geom_bar(aes(fill = un_regional_group), stat = "identity", width = 0.7) + 
  coord_flip() + bbplot::bbc_style() + 
  ggflags::geom_flag(aes(x = sec_gen, y = -100, country = iso2), size = 12) +
  scale_fill_manual(values = le_palette) +
  labs(title = "Longest serving UN Secretaries General",
       subtitle = ("Source: Wikipedia")) + 
  xlab("") + ylab("") 

We can make a quick pie-chart to compare regions. We can see that Secretaries-General from the West have had the most time in office

sg_text <- sg_count %>% 
  arrange(desc(un_regional_group)) %>%
  mutate(prop = sum_days / sum(sg_count$sum_days) *100) %>%
  mutate(ypos = cumsum(prop)- 0.5*prop )

sg_text %>% 

sg_text %>%
  mutate(region = case_when(un_regional_group == "Western European & others" ~ "Europe",
         un_regional_group == "Latin American& Caribbean" ~ "Latin America",
         un_regional_group == "Asia & Pacific" ~ "Asia", 
         TRUE ~ as.character(un_regional_group))) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = "", y = prop, fill = region)) +
  geom_bar(stat = "identity", width = 1) +
  geom_text(aes(y = ypos + 1, label = round(prop, 0)), color = "white", size = 15) +
  coord_polar("y", start = 0) +
  theme_void() +
  ggtitle("Length of Secretaries General in office across regions") + 
  scale_fill_manual(values = le_palette) + 
  theme(legend.title = element_blank(),
        legend.text = element_text(size = 20), 
        plot.title = element_text(size = 30))

We can create a Gantt-like chart to track the timeline for the different men (all men!)

Click here to read more about timelines in R

sg_clean %>% 
  mutate(region = case_when(un_regional_group == "Western European & others" ~ "Europe",un_regional_group == "Latin American& Caribbean" ~ "Latin America",un_regional_group == "Asia & Pacific" ~ "Asia", TRUE ~ as.character(un_regional_group))) %>%
  ggplot(aes(x = as.Date(start_office), 
             y = no, 
             color = region)) +
  geom_segment(aes(xend = as.Date(end_office), 
                   yend = no, alpha = 0.9,
                   color = region), size = 9)  +
  geom_text(aes(label = sec_gen), 
            color = "black", 
            alpha = 0.7,
            size = 8, show.legend = FALSE) +
  bbplot::bbc_style() +
  scale_color_manual(values = le_palette) + 
  scale_x_date(breaks = scales::breaks_pretty(15))
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Urquhart, B. (1995). Selecting the world’s CEO: Remembering the Secretaries-General. Foreign Affairs, 21-26.

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Scraping and wrangling UN peacekeeping data with tidyr package in R

Packages we will need:


For this blog post, we will look at UN peacekeeping missions and compare across regions.

Despite the criticisms about some operations, the empirical record for UN peacekeeping records has been robust in the academic literature

“In short, peacekeeping intervenes in the most difficult
cases, dramatically increases the chances that peace will
last, and does so by altering the incentives of the peacekept,
by alleviating their fear and mistrust of each other, by
preventing and controlling accidents and misbehavior by
hard-line factions, and by encouraging political inclusion”
(Goldstone, 2008: 178).

The data on the current and previous PKOs (peacekeeping operations) will come from the Wikipedia page. But the variables do not really lend themselves to analysis as they are.

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Once we have the url, we scrape all the tables on the Wikipedia page in a few lines

pko_members <- read_html("")
pko_tables <- pko_members %>% html_table(header = TRUE, fill = TRUE)

Click here to read more about the rvest package for scraping data from websites.

pko_complete_africa <- pko_tables[[1]]
pko_complete_americas <- pko_tables[[2]]
pko_complete_asia <- pko_tables[[3]]
pko_complete_europe <- pko_tables[[4]]
pko_complete_mena <- pko_tables[[5]]

And then we bind them together! It’s very handy that they all have the same variable names in each table.

rbind(pko_complete_africa, pko_complete_americas, pko_complete_asia, pko_complete_europe, pko_complete_mena) -> pko_complete

Next, we will add a variable to indicate that all the tables of these missions are completed.

pko_complete %<>% 
  mutate(complete = ifelse(!$Location), "Complete", "Current"))

We do the same with the current missions that are ongoing:

pko_current_africa <- pko_tables[[6]]
pko_current_asia <- pko_tables[[7]]
pko_current_europe <- pko_tables[[8]]
pko_current_mena <- pko_tables[[9]]

rbind(pko_current_europe, pko_current_mena, pko_current_asia, pko_current_africa) -> pko_current

pko_current %<>% 
  mutate(complete = ifelse(!$Location), "Current", "Complete"))

We then bind the completed and current mission data.frames

rbind(pko_complete, pko_current) -> pko

Then we clean the variable names with the function from the janitor package.

pko_df <-  pko %>% 

Next we’ll want to create some new variables.

We can make a new row for each country that is receiving a peacekeeping mission. We can paste all the countries together and then use the separate function from the tidyr package to create new variables.

 pko_df %>%
  group_by(conflict) %>%
  mutate(location = paste(location, collapse = ', ')) %>% 
  separate(location,  into = c("country_1", "country_2", "country_3", "country_4", "country_5"), sep = ", ")  %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 
  distinct(conflict, .keep_all = TRUE) %>% 

Next we can create a new variable that only keeps the acroynm for the operation name. I took these regex codes from the following stack overflow link

pko_df %<>% 
  mutate(acronym = str_extract_all(name_of_operation, "\\([^()]+\\)")) %>% 
  mutate(acronym = substring(acronym, 2, nchar(acronym)-1)) %>% 
  separate(dates_of_operation, c("start_date", "end_date"), "–")

I will fill in the end data for the current missions that are still ongoing in 2022

pko_df %<>% 
  mutate(end_date = ifelse(complete == "Current", 2022, end_date)) 

And next we can calculate the duration for each operation

pko_df %<>% 
  mutate(end_date = as.integer(end_date)) %>% 
  mutate(start_date = as.integer(start_date)) %>% 
  mutate(duration = ifelse(!, end_date - start_date, 1)) 

I want to compare regions and graph out the different operations around the world.

We can download region data with democracyData package (best package ever!)

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pacl <- redownload_pacl()

pacl %>% 
  select(cown = pacl_cowcode,
        un_region_name, un_continent_name) %>% 
  distinct(cown, .keep_all = TRUE) -> pacl_region

We join the datasets together with the inner_join() and add Correlates of War country codes.

pko_df %<>% 
  mutate(cown = countrycode(country_1, "", "cown")) %>%   mutate(cown = ifelse(country_1 == "Western Sahara", 605, 
                       ifelse(country_1 == "Serbia", 345, cown))) %>% 
  inner_join(pacl_region, by = "cown")

Now we can start graphing our duration data:

pko_df %>% 
  ggplot(mapping = aes(x = forcats::fct_reorder(un_region_name, duration), 
                       y = duration, 
                       fill = un_region_name)) +
  geom_boxplot(alpha = 0.4) +
  geom_jitter(aes(color = un_region_name),
              size = 6, alpha = 0.8, width = 0.15) +
  coord_flip() + 
  bbplot::bbc_style() + ggtitle("Duration of Peacekeeping Missions")

We can see that Asian and “Western Asian” – i.e. Middle East – countries have the longest peacekeeping missions in terns of years.

pko_countries %>% 
  filter(un_continent_name == "Asia") %>%
  unite("country_names", country_1:country_5, remove = TRUE,  na.rm = TRUE, sep = ", ") %>% 
  arrange(desc(duration)) %>% 
Start End Duration Region Country
1949 2022 73 Southern Asia India, Pakistan
1964 2022 58 Western Asia Cyprus, Northern Cyprus
1974 2022 48 Western Asia Israel, Syria, Lebanon
1978 2022 44 Western Asia Lebanon
1993 2009 16 Western Asia Georgia
1991 2003 12 Western Asia Iraq, Kuwait
1994 2000 6 Central Asia Tajikistan
2006 2012 6 South-Eastern Asia East Timor
1988 1991 3 Southern Asia Iran, Iraq
1988 1990 2 Southern Asia Afghanistan, Pakistan
1965 1966 1 Southern Asia Pakistan, India
1991 1992 1 South-Eastern Asia Cambodia, Cambodia
1999 NA 1 South-Eastern Asia East Timor, Indonesia, East Timor, Indonesia, East Timor
1958 NA 1 Western Asia Lebanon
1963 1964 1 Western Asia North Yemen
2012 NA 1 Western Asia Syria

Next we can compare the decades

pko_countries %<>% 
  mutate(decade = substr(start_date, 1, 3)) %>% 
  mutate(decade = paste0(decade, "0s")) 

And graph it out:

pko_countries %>% 
  ggplot(mapping = aes(x = decade, 
                       y = duration, 
                       fill = decade)) +
  geom_boxplot(alpha = 0.4) +
  geom_jitter(aes(color = decade),
              size = 6, alpha = 0.8, width = 0.15) +
   coord_flip() + 
  geom_curve(aes(x = "1950s", y = 60, xend = "1940s", yend = 72),
  arrow = arrow(length = unit(0.1, "inch")), size = 0.8, color = "black",
   curvature = -0.4) +
  annotate("text", label = "First Mission to Kashmir",
           x = "1950s", y = 49, size = 8, color = "black") +
  geom_curve(aes(x = "1990s", y = 46, xend = "1990s", yend = 32),
             arrow = arrow(length = unit(0.1, "inch")), size = 0.8, color = "black",curvature = 0.3) +
  annotate("text", label = "Most Missions after the Cold War",
           x = "1990s", y = 60, size = 8, color = "black") +

  bbplot::bbc_style() + ggtitle("Duration of Peacekeeping Missions")

Following the end of the Cold War, there were renewed calls for the UN to become the agency for achieving world peace, and the agency’s peacekeeping dramatically increased, authorizing more missions between 1991 and 1994 than in the previous 45 years combined.

We can use a waffle plot to see which decade had the most operation missions. Waffle plots are often seen as more clear than pie charts.

Click here to read more about waffle charts in R

To get the data ready for a waffle chart, we just need to count the number of peacekeeping missions (i.e. the number of rows) in each decade. Then we fill the groups (i.e. decade) and enter the n variable we created as the value.

pko_countries %>% 
  group_by(decade) %>% 
  count() %>%  
  ggplot(aes(fill = decade, values = n)) + 
  waffle::geom_waffle(color = "white", size= 3, n_rows = 8) +
  scale_x_discrete(expand=c(0,0)) +
  scale_y_discrete(expand=c(0,0)) +
  coord_equal() +
  labs(title = "Number of Peacekeeper Missions") + bbplot::bbc_style() 
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If we want to add more information, we can go to the UN Peacekeeping website and download more data on peacekeeping troops and operations.

We can graph the number of peacekeepers per country

Click here to learn more about adding flags to graphs!

le_palette <- c("#5f0f40", "#9a031e", "#94d2bd", "#e36414", "#0f4c5c")

pkt %>%
  mutate(contributing_country = ifelse(contributing_country == "United Republic of Tanzania", "Tanzania",ifelse(contributing_country == "Côte d’Ivoire", "Cote d'Ivoire", contributing_country))) %>% 
  mutate(iso2 = tolower(countrycode::countrycode(contributing_country, "", "iso2c"))) %>% 
  mutate(cown = countrycode::countrycode(contributing_country, "", "cown")) %>% 
  inner_join(pacl_region, by = "cown") %>% 
  mutate(un_region_name = case_when(grepl("Africa", un_region_name) ~ "Africa",grepl("Eastern Asia", un_region_name) ~ "South-East Asia",
 un_region_name == "Western Africa" ~ "Middle East",TRUE ~ as.character(un_region_name))) %>% 
  filter(total_uniformed_personnel > 700) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = reorder(contributing_country, total_uniformed_personnel),
             y = total_uniformed_personnel)) + 
  geom_bar(stat = "identity", width = 0.7, aes(fill = un_region_name), color = "white") +
  coord_flip() +
  ggflags::geom_flag(aes(x = contributing_country, y = -1, country = iso2), size = 8) +
  # geom_text(aes(label= values), position = position_dodge(width = 0.9), hjust = -0.5, size = 5, color = "#000500") + 
  scale_fill_manual(values = le_palette) +
  labs(title = "Total troops serving as peacekeepers",
       subtitle = ("Across countries"),
       caption = "         Source: UN ") +
  xlab("") + 
  ylab("") + bbplot::bbc_style()

We can see that Bangladesh, Nepal and India have the most peacekeeper troops!

Convert event-level data to panel-level data with tidyr in R

Packages we will need:


In this post, we are going to scrape NATO accession data from Wikipedia and turn it into panel data. This means turning a list of every NATO country and their accession date into a time-series, cross-sectional dataset with information about whether or not a country is a member of NATO in any given year.

This is helpful for political science analysis because simply a dummy variable indicating whether or not a country is in NATO would lose information about the date they joined. The UK joined NATO in 1948 but North Macedonia only joined in 2020. A simple binary variable would not tell us this if we added it to our panel data.

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We will first scrape a table from the Wikipedia page on NATO member states with a few functions form the rvest pacakage.

Click here to read more about the rvest package:

nato_members <- read_html("")

nato_tables <- nato_members %>% html_table(header = TRUE, fill = TRUE)

nato_member_joined <- nato_tables[[1]]

We have information about each country and the date they joined. In total there are 30 rows, one for each member of NATO.

Next we are going to clean up the data, remove the numbers in the [square brackets], and select the columns that we want.

A very handy function from the janitor package cleans the variable names. They are lower_case_with_underscores rather than how they are on Wikipedia.

Next we remove the square brackets and their contents with sub("\\[.*", "", insert_variable_name)

And the accession date variable is a bit tricky because we want to convert it to date format, extract the year and convert back to an integer.

nato_member_joined %<>% 
  clean_names() %>% 
  select(country = member_state, 
         accession = accession_3) %>% 
  mutate(member_2020 = 2020,
         country = sub("\\[.*", "", country),
         accession = sub("\\[.*", "", accession),
         accession = parse_date_time(accession, "dmy"),
         accession = format(as.Date(accession, format = "%d/%m/%Y"),"%Y"),
         accession = as.numeric(as.character(accession)))

When we have our clean data, we will pivot the data to longer form. This will create one event column that has a value of accession or member in 2020.

This gives us the start and end year of our time variable for each country.

nato_member_joined %<>% 
  pivot_longer(!country, names_to = "event", values_to = "year") 

Our dataset now has 60 observations. We see Albania joined in 2009 and is still a member in 2020, for example.

Next we will use the complete() function from the tidyr package to fill all the dates in between 1948 until 2020 in the dataset. This will increase our dataset to 2,160 observations and a row for each country each year.

Nect we will group the dataset by country and fill the nato_member status variable down until the most recent year.

nato_member_joined %<>% 
  mutate(year = as.Date(as.character(year), format = "%Y")) %>% 
  mutate(year = ymd(year)) %>% 
  complete(country, year = seq.Date(min(year), max(year), by = "year")) %>% 
  mutate(nato_member = ifelse(event == "accession", 1, 
                              ifelse(event == "member_2020", 1, 0))) %>% 
  group_by(country) %>% 
  fill(nato_member, .direction = "down") %>%

Last, we will use the ifelse() function to mutate the event variable into one of three categories: 'accession‘, 'member‘ or ‘not member’.

nato_member_joined %>%
  mutate(nato_member = replace_na(nato_member, 0),
         year = parse_number(as.character(year)),
         event = ifelse(nato_member == 0, "not member", event),
         event = ifelse(nato_member == 1 &, "member", event),
         event = ifelse(event == "member_2020", "member", event))  %>% 
  distinct(country, year, .keep_all = TRUE) -> nato_panel
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Lump groups together and create “other” category with forcats package

Packages we will need:


For this blog, we are going to look at the titles of all countries’ heads of state, such as Kings, Presidents, Emirs, Chairman … understandably, there are many many many ways to title the leader of a country.

First, we will download the PACL dataset from the democracyData package.

Click here to read more about this super handy package:

If you want to read more about the variables in this dataset, click the link below to download the codebook by Cheibub et al.

pacl <- redownload_pacl()

We are going to look at the npost variable; this captures the political title of the nominal head of stage. This can be King, President, Sultan et cetera!

pacl %>% 
  count(npost) %>% 

If we count the occurence of each title, we can see there are many ways to be called the head of a country!

"president"                         3693
"prime minister"                    2914
"king"                               470
"Chairman of Council of Ministers"   229
"premier"                            169
"chancellor"                         123
"emir"                               117
"chair of Council of Ministers"      111
"head of state"                       90
"sultan"                              67
"chief of government"                 63
"president of the confederation"      63
""                                    44
"chairman of Council of Ministers"    44
"shah"                                33

# ... with 145 more rows

155 groups is a bit difficult to meaningfully compare.

So we can collapse some of the groups together and lump all the titles that occur relatively seldomly – sometimes only once or twice – into an “other” category.

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First, we use grepl() function to take the word president and chair (chairman, chairwoman, chairperson et cetera) and add them into broader categories.

Also, we use the tolower() function to make all lower case words and there is no confusion over the random capitalisation.

 pacl %<>% 
  mutate(npost = tolower(npost)) %>% 
  mutate(npost = ifelse(grepl("president", npost), "president", npost)) %>% 
  mutate(npost = ifelse(grepl("chair", npost), "chairperson", npost))

Next, we create an "other leader type" with the fct_lump_prop() function.

We specifiy a threshold and if the group appears fewer times in the dataset than this level we set, it is added into the “other” group.

pacl %<>% 
  mutate(regime_prop = fct_lump_prop(npost,
                                   prop = 0.005,
                                   other_level = "Other leader type")) %>% 
  mutate(regime_prop = str_to_title(regime_prop)) 

Now, instead of 155 types of leader titles, we have 10 types and the rest are all bundled into the Other Leader Type category

President            4370
Prime Minister       2945
Chairperson           520
King                  470
Other Leader Type     225
Premier               169
Chancellor            123
Emir                  117
Head Of State          90
Sultan                 67
Chief Of Government    63
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The forcast package has three other ways to lump the variables together.

First, we can quickly look at fct_lump_min().

We can set the min argument to 100 and look at how it condenses the groups together:

pacl %>% 
  mutate(npost = tolower(npost)) %>% 
  mutate(post_min = fct_lump_min(npost,
                                   min = 100,
                                   other_level = "Other type")) %>% 
  mutate(post_min = str_to_title(post_min)) %>% 
  count(post_min) %>% 
President       4370
Prime Minister  2945
Chairperson      520
King             470
Other Type       445
Premier          169
Chancellor       123
Emir             117

We can see that if the post appears fewer than 100 times, it is now in the Other Type category. In the previous example, Head Of State only appeared 90 times so it didn’t make it.

Next we look at fct_lump_lowfreq().

This function lumps together the least frequent levels. This one makes sure that “other” category remains as the smallest group. We don’t add another numeric argument.

pacl %>% 
  mutate(npost = tolower(npost)) %>% 
  mutate(post_lowfreq  = fct_lump_lowfreq(npost,
                                   other_level = "Other type")) %>% 
  mutate(post_lowfreq = str_to_title(post_lowfreq)) %>% 
  count(post_lowfreq) %>% 
President       4370
Prime Minister  2945
Other Type      1844

This one only has three categories and all but president and prime minister are chucked into the Other type category.

Last, we can look at the fct_lump_n() to make sure we have a certain number of groups. We add n = 5 and we create five groups and the rest go to the Other type category.

pacl %>% 
  mutate(npost = tolower(npost)) %>% 
  mutate(post_n  = fct_lump_n(npost,
                                n = 5,
                                other_level = "Other type")) %>% 
  mutate(post_n = str_to_title(post_n)) %>% 
  count(post_n) %>% 
President       4370
Prime Minister  2945
Other Type       685
Chairperson      520
King             470
Premier          169
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Next we can make a simple graph counting the different leader titles in free, partly free and not free Freedom House countries. We will use the download_fh() from DemocracyData package again

fh <- download_fh()

We will use the reorder_within() function from tidytext package.

Click here to read the full blog post explaining the function from Julia Silge’s blog.

First we add Freedom House data with the inner_join() function

Then we use the fct_lump_n() and choose the top five categories (plus the Other Type category we make)

pacl %<>% 
  inner_join(fh, by = c("cown", "year")) %>% 
  mutate(npost  = fct_lump_n(npost,
                  n = 5,
                  other_level = "Other type")) %>%
  mutate(npost = str_to_title(npost))

Then we group_by the three Freedom House status levels and count the number of each title:

pacl %<>% 
  group_by(status) %>% 
  count(npost) %>% 
  ungroup() %>% 

Using reorder_within(), we order the titles from most to fewest occurences WITHIN each status group:

pacl %<>%
  mutate(npost = reorder_within(npost, n, status)) 

To plot the columns, we use geom_col() and separate them into each Freedom House group, using facet_wrap(). We add scales = "free y" so that we don’t add every title to each group. Without this we would have empty spaces in the Free group for Emir and King. So this step removes a lot of clutter.

pacl_colplot <- pacl %>%
  ggplot(aes(fct_reorder(npost, n), n)) +
  geom_col(aes(fill = npost), show.legend = FALSE) +
  facet_wrap(~status, scales = "free_y") 

Last, I manually added the colors to each group (which now have longer names to reorder them) so that they are consistent across each group. I am sure there is an easier and less messy way to do this but sometimes finding the easier way takes more effort!

We add the scale_x_reordered() function to clean up the names and remove everything from the underscore in the title label.

pacl_colplot + scale_fill_manual(values = c("Prime Minister___F" = "#005f73",
                                "Prime Minister___NF" = "#005f73",
                                "Prime Minister___PF" = "#005f73",
                               "President___F" = "#94d2bd",
                               "President___NF" = "#94d2bd",
                               "President___PF" = "#94d2bd",
                               "Other Type___F" = "#ee9b00",
                               "Other Type___NF" = "#ee9b00",
                               "Other Type___PF" = "#ee9b00",
                               "Chairperson___F" = "#bb3e03",
                               "Chairperson___NF" = "#bb3e03",
                               "Chairperson___PF" = "#bb3e03",
                               "King___F" = "#9b2226",
                               "King___NF" = "#9b2226",
                               "King___PF" = "#9b2226",
                               "Emir___F" = "#001219", 
                               "Emir___NF" = "#001219",
                               "Emir___PF" = "#001219")) +
  scale_x_reordered() +
  coord_flip() + 
  ggthemes::theme_fivethirtyeight() + 
  themes(text = element_size(size = 30))

In case you were curious about the free country that had a chairperson, Nigeria had one for two years.

pacl %>%
  filter(status == "F") %>% 
  filter(npost == "Chairperson") %>% 
  select(Country = pacl_country) %>% 
  knitr::kable("latex") %>%
  kableExtra::kable_classic(font_size = 30)


Cheibub, J. A., Gandhi, J., & Vreeland, J. R. (2010). Democracy and dictatorship revisited. Public choice143(1), 67-101.

Visualise DemocracyData with graphs and maps

Packages we will need:


In this post, we will look at easy ways to graph data from the democracyData package.

The two datasets we will look at are the Anckar-Fredriksson dataset of political regimes and Freedom House Scores.

Regarding democracies, Anckar and Fredriksson (2018) distinguish between republics and monarchies. Republics can be presidential, semi-presidential, or parliamentary systems.

Within the category of monarchies, almost all systems are parliamentary, but a few countries are conferred to the category semi-monarchies.

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Autocratic countries can be in the following main categories: absolute monarchy, military rule, party-based rule, personalist rule, and oligarchy.

anckar <- democracyData::redownload_anckar()
fh <- download_fh()

We will see which regime types have been free or not since 1970.

We join the fh dataset to the anckar dataset with inner_join(). Luckily, both the datasets have the cown and year variables with which we can merge.

Then we sumamrise the mean Freedom House level for each regime type.

anckar %>% 
  inner_join(fh, by = c("cown", "year")) %>% 
  filter(! %>%
  group_by(regimebroadcat, year) %>% 
  summarise(mean_fh = mean(fh_total_reversed, na.rm = TRUE)) -> anckar_sum

We want to place a label for each regime line in the graph, so create a small dataframe with regime score information only about the first year.

anckar_start <- anckar_sum %>%
  group_by(regimebroadcat) %>% 
  filter(year == 1972) %>% 

And we pick some more jewel toned colours for the graph and put them in a vector.

my_palette <- c("#ca6702", "#bb3e03", "#ae2012", "#9b2226", "#001219", "#005f73", "#0a9396", "#94d2bd", "#ee9b00")

And we graph it out

anckar_sum %>%
  ggplot(aes(x = year, y = mean_fh, groups = as.factor(regimebroadcat))) + 
  geom_point(aes(color = regimebroadcat), alpha = 0.7, size = 2) + 
  geom_line(aes(color = regimebroadcat), alpha = 0.7, size = 2) +
  ggrepel::geom_label_repel(data = anckar_start, hjust = 1.5,
            aes(x = year,
                y = mean_fh,
                color = regimebroadcat,
                label = regimebroadcat),
            alpha = 0.7,
            show.legend = FALSE, 
            size = 9) + 
  scale_color_manual(values = my_palette) +
  expand_limits(x = 1965) +  
  ggthemes::theme_pander() + 
  theme(legend.position = "none",
        axis.text = element_text(size = 30, colour ="grey40")) 

We can also use map data that comes with the tidyverse() package.

To merge the countries easily, I add a cown variable to this data.frame

world_map <- map_data("world")

world_map %<>% 
  mutate(cown = countrycode::countrycode(region, "", "cown"))

I want to only look at regimes types in the final year in the dataset – which is 2018 – so we filter only one year before we merge with the map data.frame.

The geom_polygon() part is where we indiciate the variable we want to plot. In our case it is the regime category

anckar %>% 
 filter(year == max(year)) %>%
  inner_join(world_map, by = c("cown")) %>%
  mutate(regimebroadcat = ifelse(region == "Libya", 'Military rule', regimebroadcat)) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = long, y = lat, group = group)) + 
  geom_polygon(aes(fill = regimebroadcat), color = "white", size = 1) 
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We can next look at the PIPE dataset and see which countries have been uninterrupted republics over time.

pipe <- democracyData::redownload_pipe()

We graph out the max_republic_age variable with geom_bar()

pipe %>% 
  mutate(iso_lower = tolower(countrycode::countrycode(PIPE_cowcodes, "cown", "iso2c"))) %>% 
  mutate(country_name = countrycode::countrycode(PIPE_cowcodes, "cown", "")) %>% 
  filter(year == max(year)) %>% 
  filter(max_republic_age > 100) %>% 
  ggplot(aes(x = reorder(country_name, max_republic_age), y = max_republic_age)) + 
  geom_bar(stat = "identity", width = 0.7, aes(fill = as.factor(europe))) +
  ggflags::geom_flag(aes(y = max_republic_age, x = country_name, 
                         country = iso_lower), size = 15) + 
  coord_flip() +  ggthemes::theme_pander() -> pipe_plot

And fix up some aesthetics:

pipe_plot + 
  theme(axis.text = element_text(size = 30),
        legend.text = element_text(size = 30),
        legend.title = element_blank(),
        axis.title = element_blank(),
        legend.position = "bottom") + 
  labs(y= "", x = "") + 
scale_fill_manual(values =  c("#d62828", "#457b9d"),
 labels = c("Former British Settler Colony", "European Country")) 

I added the header and footer in

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