The Geography of Repression and Support for Democracy: Evidence From the Pinochet Dictatorship

90 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2018 Last revised: 1 Dec 2018

See all articles by Maria Angelica Bautista

Maria Angelica Bautista

University of Chicago

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics

Luis R. Martinez

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies

Pablo Munoz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Mounu Prem

Universidad del Rosario

Date Written: November 30, 2018

Abstract

We show that exposure to repression under dictatorship increases support for democracy and contributes to regime change when a democratic window of opportunity arises. Studying the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in Chile, we exploit the fact that the predetermined location of military bases predicts local levels of civilian victimization, but is unrelated to historical political preferences. Using two-stage least squares, we show that increased exposure to repression during the dictatorship led to higher voter registration and higher opposition to Pinochet’s continuation in power in the 1988 plebiscite that triggered the democratic transition. Complementary survey data confirms that individuals with greater exposure to repression during the military regime continue to have stronger preferences for democracy. However, exposure to repression does not affect election outcomes after democratization.

Keywords: Chile, Human Rights, Repression, Dictatorship, Democratization, Elections

JEL Classification: D72, N46

Suggested Citation

Bautista, Maria Angelica and González, Felipe and Martinez, Luis and Munoz, Pablo and Prem, Mounu, The Geography of Repression and Support for Democracy: Evidence From the Pinochet Dictatorship (November 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3249606 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3249606

Maria Angelica Bautista

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Felipe González (Contact Author)

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics ( email )

Casilla 76
Correo 17
Santiago
Chile

Luis Martinez

University of Chicago - Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Pablo Munoz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

579 Evans Hall
Berkeley, CA 94709
United States

Mounu Prem

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Casa Pedro Fermín
Calle 14 # 4-69
Bogota
Colombia

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