You've reached Dan Pemstein's website. I'm a professor of Political Science & Public Policy at North Dakota State University, where I co-direct the Center for the Study of Digital Society. I'm a comparative political economist and methodologist who studies democratic institutions. Much of my current research examines challenges that digital networks pose to democracy and develops tools to better measure democratic institutions. I also have an ongoing research program that explores the interplay between legislative behavior, political careers, and party organization and have burgeoning interests in the political economy of development and criminal justice policy. I teach courses on comparative politics, political economy, global public policy, and research methods. I serve as an associate editor for the American Political Science Review.

I am involved in a number of data and software projects. In particular, I am the co-director of the Digital Society Project, a co-developer of the Unified Democracy Scores, and a co-author of the Scythe Statistical Library. I also serve as project manager for measurement methods for, and sit on the steering committee of, the Varieties of Democracy project.

A variety of funders have supported my research, including the National Science Foundation, the International Growth Centre, Centre of Excellence for Development Impact and Learning, NORC at the University of Chicago's USAID-supported Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance program, Facebook, Google, Twitter, the European Union Center at the University of Illinois, and—through sub-contracts from the University of Gothenburg—the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond and Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.


You can find publications, working papers, and data related to my research on digital politics and policy, candidates, parties, and legislative behavior, measuring democratic institutions, political economy of development, and assorted other topics below. Take a look at my CV, google scholar profile, or dataverse for more information.

Digital Politics and Policy

Candidates, Parties, Careers, and Legislative Behavior

Measuring Democratic Institutions (V-Dem, UDS, and Related Methods)

Political Economy of Development

Everything Else


Recent and Upcoming Courses



  • The Scythe Statistical Library

    A C++ library for statistical computation co-authored with Kevin M. Quinn (Emory University) and Andrew D. Martin (Washington University). Scythe includes a suite of matrix manipulation functions, a suite of pseudo-random number generators, and a suite of numerical optimization routines. Scythe sits under the hood of a number of R packages, most notably MCMCpack, and has been used in published work in fields ranging from political science to computational statistics, dentistry, finance, molecular ecology, physics, and volcanology. Scythe is free software.

  • This tutorial on the UDS website demonstrates how to use posterior samples from MCMC in subsequent analyses. The example is intended to explain how to use the Unified Democracy Scores correctly, but is generally applicable. So, for example, if you want to use Clinton-Jackman-Rivers or Martin-Quinn style ideal point estimates in your research and want to correctly incorporate posterior uncertainty in the ideal point estimates into your inferences, this tutorial shows you how, using stata.

  • Here's my public key in case you want to send me an encrypted file or verify my digital signature. You can also find it on various keyservers. The fingerprint is 4E93 1DF1 3616 CC4E 9502 3DF6 22DC 44AA 132A 20B8.