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The Impact of Institutional Coup-Proofing on Coup Attempts and Coup Outcomes

Böhmelt, T and Pilster, U (2015) 'The Impact of Institutional Coup-Proofing on Coup Attempts and Coup Outcomes.' International Interactions, 41 (1). 158 - 182. ISSN 0305-0629

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Coup-proofing pertains to political leaders’ strategies that will prevent groups inside or outside the state apparatus from seizing power via a coup d’état. One particular form of these strategies divides a country’s military into rivaling organizations, thereby creating an artificial balance between and structural obstacles for the armed forces. Despite the general claim that this institutional coup-proofing is indeed effective, a recent empirical study does not obtain evidence for a negative impact on the risk of coup attempts or coup outcomes. The authors take this finding as a motivation for their re-evaluation of the effect of institutional coup-proofing on coup risk and outcomes. By developing an argument that rests on the concepts of collective action and polarization, it is contended that institutional coup-proofing and coups are characterized by a U-shaped relationship: Institutional coup-proofing is likely to lower the likelihood of coup onsets and successful outcomes, yet only until a tipping point of about two equally strong military organizations. After this turning point, the risk of coup onset as well as coup success may increase again. Using time-series cross-section data for 1975–1999, the authors find strong and robust support for their claims in terms of coup onset, but not coup outcomes.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2014 11:10
Last Modified: 07 Apr 2021 19:15

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