Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

  Check out the Cshapes project for the preferred approach to derive data on minimum distances between states. I now encourage all interested users to rely on Cshapes and the associated R package to derive minimum distance data directly from digital maps, and the old (hand coded) Gleditsch and Ward data will not be updated

  Download the current version: Download the current version (0.97) of the minimum distance data. This interface requires that you have a copy of Perl on your system. You may also be interested in data on distance between capital cities.
  Documentation: The data are explained in greater detail in Gleditsch, Kristian S., and Michael D. Ward. 2001. "Measuring Space: A Minimum Distance Database." Journal of Peace Research 38:749-68. Copyright reasons preclude making the article available on-line. If you are at an institution with a library that subscribes to the journal, you can probably download a copy from Ingenta. See my note on online access (below)
  Alternate Formats: These version of the data do not require Perl, but are less flexible than the version of the data provided through the distribution program above. You can download a small dyadic file with observations for all dyad years with minimum distances less than 950km, 1875-98.

The Minimum Distance Data are based on the list of states outlined in Gleditsch, Kristian S. & Michael D. Ward. 1999. "A Revised List of Independent States since 1816," International Interactions 25:393-413. This list differs in certain ways from the list of system members maintained by the COW project and labels used by the COW project. A version that conforms to the COW criteria is available here. Note that this file does not include some microstates with less than 250,000 inhabitants that were not included in the Gleditsch and Ward list but are considered system members by the COW project through UN membership.

  Note on opening the data: The data file is too large to be opened in Microsoft Excel. Use a plain ascii editor, for example, the Programmer's File Editor available here


I have previously provided copies of articles online. However, many journals consider this to be an infringment of their copyright rights, and are increasingly concerned about enforcing these. As a result, I will no longer provide access on this page to any papers that either have been published or have been accepted for publication.

If you are affiliated with an academic institution that subscribes to the particular journal you may be able to download an electronic copy through an electronic access providers. The most common access providers include Ingenta, EBSCO, or Nesli (in the UK). Contact your local librarian to find out if your institution subscribes to any of these.

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