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

Milan W. Svolik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-738
Number of pages24
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 13 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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