Skip to main content Accessibility help

Terrorism and the Fate of Dictators

  • Deniz Aksoy, David B. Carter and Joseph Wright

The authors study the influence of domestic political dissent and violence on incumbent dictators and their regimes. They argue that elite with an interest in preserving the regime hold dictators accountable when there is a significant increase in terrorism. To pinpoint the accountability of dictators to elite who are strongly invested in the current regime, the authors make a novel theoretical distinction between reshuffling coups that change the leader but leave the regime intact and regime-change coups that completely change the set of elites atop the regime. Using a new data set that distinguishes between these two coup types, the authors provide robust evidence that terrorism is a consistent predictor of reshuffling coups, whereas forms of dissent that require broader public participation and support, such as protests and insurgencies, are associated with regime-change coup attempts. This article is the first to show that incumbent dictators are held accountable for terrorist campaigns that occur on their watch.

Hide All

* We thank Victor Asal, Tom Christensen, Joanne Gowa, Helen Milner, Keren Yarhi-Milo, Joseph Young, seminar participants at the Combatting Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and seminar participants at the School of Political Science and Economics at Waseda University for comments and suggestions. We are especially thankful to John Chin for outstanding research assistance. Any mistakes remain our own responsibility.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

World Politics
  • ISSN: 0043-8871
  • EISSN: 1086-3338
  • URL: /core/journals/world-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Aksoy supplementary material

 PDF (387 KB)
387 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed