The Comparative National Associations Project assembles and organizes data from directories of national associations in Britain, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. The goal of this project is to make information on a broad range of national associations over time more readily accessible to scholars through the creation of a series of comparable over-time databases on the broad range of national non-profit civic associations in these countries that can facilitate comparative research by a wide range of social science scholars. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation from 2009-2012, but data continue to be added to the website. In 2016 an additional year of Australian associational data were posted. Planned future coding will enhance comparability and usability of data by increasing temporal coverage.
The first publication from these data introduces the collection effort and describes the scope and composition of national associational populations in Australia, Canada, the UK and USA. Special attention is paid to the the subset of associations attending to issues of social inequality. I find no evidence of heightened associational activity in the United States, but that the nonmembership form is particularly prominent there. Associations attending to inequality issues in the United Kingdom are structured in a decidedly more centralized way than these other nations, likely as a result of the more unitary nature of government in that country.
Bert Fraussen and Darren Halpin, political scientists at The Australian National University, used Australian CNAP data to generate a sampling frame for further data study in “Assessing the Composition and Diversity of the Australian Interest Group System.” This work was published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration in 2016.