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Which Democracies Will Last? Coups, Incumbent Takeovers, and the Dynamic of Democratic Consolidation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 March 2014

Abstract

This article develops a change-point model of democratic consolidation that conceives of consolidation as a latent quality to be inferred rather than measured directly. Consolidation is hypothesized to occur when a large, durable, and statistically significant decline in the risk of democratic breakdowns occurs at a well-defined point during a democracy's lifetime. This approach is applied to new data on democratic survival that distinguish between breakdowns due to military coups and incumbent takeovers. We find that the risk of an authoritarian reversal by either process differs both in its temporal dynamic and determinants. Crucially, new democracies consolidate against the risk of coups but not incumbent takeovers, suggesting that distinct mechanisms account for the vulnerability of new democracies to these alternative modes of breakdown.

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Articles
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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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Footnotes

*

Department of Political Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (email: msvolik@illinois.edu). The author thanks Bonnie Weir and the participants at a seminar at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University for helpful comments; Svitlana Chernykh, Aya Kachi, and Tatiana Švolíková for research assistance; and David Leblang for sharing his data. An online supplementary appendix with an outline of the Gibbs sampler, convergence diagnostics, and a summary of the data is available at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=JPS. Replication data and estimation code can be accessed at the author's website http://publish.illinois.edu/msvolik/. Online appendices are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123413000550.

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