Superpower Interventions and Their Consequences for Democracy

34 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2008

See all articles by William Easterly

William Easterly

The Brookings Institution

Shanker Satyanath

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Daniel Berger

New York University

Date Written: January 2008

Abstract

Do superpower interventions to install and prop up political leaders in other countries subsequently result in more or less democracy, and does this effect vary depending on whether the intervening superpower is democratic or authoritarian? While democracy may be expected to decline contemporaneously with superpower interference, the effect on democracy after a few years is far from obvious. The absence of reliable information on covert interventions has hitherto served as an obstacle to seriously addressing these questions. The recent declassification of Cold War CIA and KGB documents now makes it possible to systematically address these questions in the Cold War context. We thus develop a new panel dataset of superpower interventions during the Cold War. We find that superpower interventions are followed by significant declines in democracy, and that the substantive effects are large. Perhaps surprisingly, once endogeneity is addressed, US and Soviet interventions have equally detrimental effects on the subsequent level of democracy; both decrease democracy by about 33%. Our findings thus suggest that one should not expect significant differences in the adverse institutional consequences of superpower interventions based on whether the intervening superpower is a democracy or a dictatorship.

Keywords: russia, U.S. politics, global governance, politics, democracy, globalization, superpowers, superpower interventions, Cold War, United States

Suggested Citation

Easterly, William and Satyanath, Shanker and Berger, Daniel, Superpower Interventions and Their Consequences for Democracy (January 2008). Brookings Global Economy and Development Working Paper No. 17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1100063 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1100063

William Easterly (Contact Author)

The Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.brookings.edu/experts/easterlyw.aspx

Shanker Satyanath

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States

Daniel Berger

New York University ( email )

715 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
193
Abstract Views
1,379
rank
158,310
PlumX Metrics