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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science