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Citizens, Autocrats, and Plotters: A Model and New Evidence on Coups D'État

Alexander Galetovic and Ricardo Sanhueza

Economics and Politics, 2000, vol. 12, issue 2, 183-204

Abstract: We present a model of coups in autocracies. Assuming that policy choices cannot be observed but are correlated with the short-run performance of the economy we find that: (a) the threat of a coup disciplines autocrats; (b) coups are more likely in recessions; (c) increasing per capita income has an ambiguous effect on the probability of a coup. The implications of the model are consistent with the evidence. On average, one recession in the previous year increases the probability of a coup attempt by 47 percent. By contrast, the effect of the level of per capita income is weak. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2000.

Date: 2000
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