The Political Consequences of Assassination
27 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2006 Last revised: 12 Nov 2007
Date Written: November 8, 2007
The assassination of a political leader is among the highest-profile acts of political violence, and conventional wisdom holds that such events often have substantial political, social, and economic effects on states. We investigate the extent to which the assassination of a head of state affects political stability, through an analysis of all assassinations of heads of state between 1952 and 1997. We examine the political consequences of assassination by assessing the levels of political unrest, instability, and civil war in states that experience the assassination of their head of state. Our findings support the existence of an interactive relationship among assassination, leadership succession, and political turmoil: in particular, we find that assassinations' effects on political instability are greatest in systems in which the process of leadership succession is informal and unregulated.
Keywords: assassination, democracy, political stability, international relations
JEL Classification: H11, C23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation