Coding Protocols

Shaun Bevan of the University of Mannheim has been coordinating collective efforts to update the country projects to conform to the new master codebook, The latest information can be found here:

Codebook discussions and master codebook

This page has been designed to debate and decide upon codebook and coding guidelines. Each country or project has one codebook representative. The aim of this forum is to maximize the comparability of the different codebooks (in reference to the master codebook) and come to standardized coding procedures across countries. Also, an updated version of the master codebook will soon be available.

Codebook Q & A

In order for this forum to work properly, I will ‘clean it up’ after each discussion so as to keep the question and the final answer/consensus. Once a coding question has been asked, please reply by putting your name in [brackets] first and then answering. This will hopefully avoid chaos. When referring to the topic codes, please (also) refer to the master codebook. If someone asks several coding questions at the same time, insert your answer after the relevant part of the question and not at the end of the entire section. Please, do not forget to save before logging off.

For Resolved and clarified Codes and Issues

  • [Christian] Certification of veterinarians is it 406 (not 325?)? 

[Enrico] 406
[Michelle] 405 in U.S. codebook
[Jeroen] I would also put 405, I see 406 as strictly in farming context

  • [Christian] Valuation of farm land and agricultural estates for the purpose of inheritance 

[Michelle] 499

  • [Christian] Combating working off the books (moonlighting in the UK (I think)) (not so much illegal employment with illegal immigrants, more about not paying taxes on income) 

[Enrico] Maybe 2009, finance administration, but it might also fit somewhere in 1200 (crime)
We code that as 1213, next to white collar crime, it also includes fraud and corruption, comparable to the American 1202

  • [Christian] changing the formula of how much each country contributes to the EU budget (is it 105 or 1910?) 

[Enrico] 1910

  • [Christian] certification and job requirements for bookkeepers and chartered accountants, tax consultants (mostly has to do with whether and how people trained in other EU countries can pratice in Germany) (in 1500 or 500?) 

[Enrico] 929, labor immigration, plus a EU dummy
[Jeroen] Idem

  • [Christian] allowing in-vitro embryo development (doesn’t explicitly state R&D) (somewhere in 300?) 

[Enrico] If it calls into question medical ethical issues it should go into 32

[Michelle] If not R&D and not ethical issue, then 321 (U.S. codebook does not have a medical ethics code 320) or 336. Latter if its a new benefit.

  • [Christian] election of German representatives to the European Council (1910, 2005, 2012)? 

[Enrico] Not sure I understand what it means
[Jeroen] if you mean the appointment of a German to the commission, I would say 2005.

  • [Christian] some international treaties that probably all other countries coded too:
  1. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention (709?)
  2. Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1926?)
  3. Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (709?)


  1. 709
  2. 1900
  3. This might be a case of 712, technological risks and disasters (but this code does not exist in the Mastercodebook)

[Michelle] 1902


  •   [Christian] civil code and trade code agreements between Germany and other countries (the problem is that codes are legislated jointly in one German law)

[Enrico] It depends which of the two aspects (civil code vs trade code) is dominant. In doubt, I’d use 1210 (Criminal and civil code).
[Anna] trade code agreements are coded in 1800

  • [Christian] highway construction for improving infrastructural development (1002 vs. 1010)?

[Enrico] Everything concerning highway maintenance should go under 1002 and I’d use 1010 for extensive highway construction.
[Anna] We code this in 1010. 1002 is more about safety and road maintenance
[Jeroen] I would also code it as 1002. I think we shot ourselves in the foot with 1010
[Michelle] 1002, even for extensive highway construction.

  • [Christian] subsidies and pensions for Stasi victims?

[Enrico] I think the choice is between 2015 “Relief of Claims Against the National Government” and 299, since these are usually compensations for citizens whose civil rights were violated.
[Jeroen] do those victims get other types of pensions? I was inclined to say 2015, but I am not sure, maybe this requires more knowledge about the nature of these subsidies.

  • [Jeroen] Ethics/moral issues (e.g. societal) We get general statements about ethics and morality in society in general in party manifestos after each ‘political scandal’ (of which we’ve had our share)

[Enrico] I’d suggest 2012 “Regulation of Political Campaigns, Political Advertising, PAC regulation, Voter Registration, Government Ethics”.

  • [Jeroen] Demography We’ve had a few of these, unrelated to any other topic (pension of labor force); e.g. a general comment about the density of the population


[Sebastiaan] During a meeting of the people coding EU policy agendas, we had a discussion about where to code terrorism. I remember from the conference in The Hague that this was an issue that still needed to be resolved. According to the “Note on terrorism” with the topics coding scheme on the US policy agendas website (, terrorism issues should be coded under a number of different subtopics (e.g. 1003 for airline security, 1615 for homeland security, 1927 for international terrorism, 800 categories if energy is at stake). In addition, 209 has been suggested for domestic terrorism. This proliferation of subtopics for terrorism may not be the best solution because it splits up issues that are thought and conceived of as one. How do other teams deal with this?
[Jeroen] In fact, we also code it that way, with the exception that if energy would be at stake, I would still code it as international terrorism over energy.

[Enrico] For the time being, we stick to this “rule of thumb” as well. 1615 only if the army is used to fight against some terrorist threat. We follow the Belgian team on energy and international terrorism.

[Anna] In Spain to code terrorism we use codes 12 and 19. We use code 12 since terrorism in Spain is under the jurisdiction of the Internal Affairs Ministry (and not Defence). Subtopic 1261 is used to code all terrorism activities related to ETA (the Basque terrorist group) and 1260 to code terrorist activities of other national or international terrorist groups that perform their terrorist attacks in the national territory (ex. 11M terrorist attacks). For terrorist actions that take place beyond the national territory (ex. 11S) we use subtopic 1927 (international terrorism). We also distinguish terrorism from other activities against the state (209). In 209 we code issues like people burning Spanish flags or pictures of the king (which are not terrorist actions).

  • Amnesty for prisoners (ex. WWII related) 

[GB] 1619

[Jeroen] we decided to put it in 1210 because, in Belgium, it is more a judicial matter, about prescription and (general) pardon

  • Unregistered work (not only by migrants) -> code as tax evasion?

[GB] 1202 (e.g. farmers hiring illegally cheap East-Europeans)
[Roy] 505 (Labour standards)

  • Discussion on banning right-wing parties vs. groups (201, 209, 2010?)

[Shaun & Will] 200 – covers 201, 206 and 209 subtopics…
[Jeroen] Depending on the basis of the ban: if freedom of speech/censorship, then 207; if it is the racist nature of the party, then 201. If there is no clear emphasis, 200 as Shaun & Will suggest.

[PAP/Michelle] 207 - the agenda of the group doesn’t matter. It’s banning the group that matters.

[Laura and Anna] 206- we have coded all issues related to political participation, voting rights and regulation of political parties, and hence banning some political parties is coded in 206. All issues related to banning right-wing organizations are coded in 207.

[Christian] 206 for banning of political parties and 207 for other organizations propagating stances against constitutionally protected rights

  • international relationship to Turkey and discussion on the status of Kurds (1920)

[Shaun & Will] 1920
[Jeroen] We code international issues differently…. Perhaps we should discuss how to make the codings more compatible
[PAP/Michelle] 1920 for very general international relationship w/o other substantive dimensions; 1925 for human rights; 530 for immigration issues

[Laura and Anna] 1913 (Turkey is not defined as a middle east country in our codebook)

  • how are international agreements coded: e.g. tax treaty (107 or 19xx), treaty on accepting social insurance contributions from another country (13xx or 19xx?)

[Shaun & Will] 1900

[PAP/Michelle] 107 for tax treaty; 13xx for social insurance contributions

[Anna and laura] It depends on the topic. for example international agreements about the environment as Kyoto agreements are coded 1902, agreements between Spain and other countries about high speed trains are coded as 1005.

  • Regulation of the technical aspects of measuring time and introduction of daylight saving time

[Shaun & Will] 1599
[Jeroen] Not sure I understand what this issue is
[PAP/Michelle] Agreed

  • change in liability coverage for electrical wiring in houses, for bus and train drivers, and air traffic

[Shaun & Will] 1525 for consumer safety in homes, 10XX for buses, trains and air.
[PAP/Michelle] 1505 for insurance requirements
[laura and Anna] 1505 for insurance requirements

  • child care benefit payments from the national government, should be under 13 but which subtopic?

[Shaun & Will] 1302 (or possibly 1300 if not income-related)
[PAP/Michelle] These issues are coded in 508 in the US project
[Anna and laura] 1308

  • compensation for the military - Are reparations coded as claims from  government (20) or from military (16)?

[Shaun & Will] If compensation of personnel 1608, between countries 1620.
[PAP/Michelle] Agreed
[Anna and Laura] if related to the victims of the spanish civil war we coded 2040. if related to compensation for the military during democracy 1608.