Does Democratization Reduce the Risk of Military Interventions in Politics in Africa?

Democratization, Vol. 15, No. 2, April 2008

Posted: 12 Sep 2007

See all articles by Staffan I. Lindberg

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute; Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

John F. Clark

Florida International University (FIU)

Abstract

This study investigates whether there is an association between a trajectory of political liberalization, democratization, and military interventions. In what is arguably the 'least likely-case' region in the world, this study analyzes the experience of 55 regimes in Africa between 1990 and 2004 and finds a striking regularity. Liberalizing, and in particular democratic, regimes have a significantly different track record of being subjected either successful or failed military interventions. The analysis suggests that democratic regimes are about 7.5 times less likely to be subjected to attempted military interventions than electoral authoritarian regimes and almost 18 times less likely to be victims of actual regime breakdown as a result. Through an additional case study analysis of the 'anomalous' cases of interventions in democratic polities, our results are largely strengthened as most of the stories behind the numbers suggests that it is only when democratic regimes perform dismally and/or do not pay soldiers their salaries that they are at great risk of being overthrown. Legitimacy accrued by political liberalization seems to 'inoculate' states against military intervention in the political realm.

Keywords: Africa, democratization, military interventions, coups, liberalization

Suggested Citation

Lindberg, Staffan I. and Clark, John F., Does Democratization Reduce the Risk of Military Interventions in Politics in Africa?. Democratization, Vol. 15, No. 2, April 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1014007

Staffan I. Lindberg (Contact Author)

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se/varianter-pa-demokrati--v-dem-/

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

John F. Clark

Florida International University (FIU) ( email )

Miami, FL
United States

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