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Coups and Democracy

British Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming

73 Pages Posted: 27 May 2013  

Nikolay Marinov

University of Mannheim - Department of Political Science

Hein E. Goemans

University of Rochester

Date Written: May 24, 2013


We use new data on coup d’états and elections to document a striking development: whereas the vast majority of successful coups before 1991 installed durable rules, the majority of coups after that have been followed by competitive elections. We argue that after the Cold War international pressure influenced the consequences of coups. In the post-Cold War era those countries that are most dependent on Western aid have been the first to embrace competitive elections after the coup. Our theory also sheds light on the pronounced decline in the number of coups since 1991. While the coup d’état has been and still is the single most important factor leading to the downfall of democratic government, our findings indicate that the new generation of coups has been far less harmful for democracy than their historical predecessors.

Keywords: Coup, Elections, Democracy, Democratization, Aid

Suggested Citation

Marinov, Nikolay and Goemans, Hein E., Coups and Democracy (May 24, 2013). British Journal of Political Science, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Nikolay Marinov (Contact Author)

University of Mannheim - Department of Political Science ( email )

Mannheim, D-68131


Hein Goemans

University of Rochester ( email )

300 Crittenden Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14627
United States

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