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1996 Documento de Trabajo #11

Citizens, Autocrats, and Plotters: A Model and New Evidence on Coups D

We present a model of coups in autocracies. Assuming that policy choices cannot be observed but are correlated with the short-run performance of the economy we find that: (a) the threat of a coup disciplines autocrats; (b) coups are more likely in recessions; (c) increasing per capita income has an ambiguous effect on the probability of a coup. The implications of the model are consistent with the evidence. On average, one recession in the previous year increases the probability of a coup attempt by 47 percent. By contrast, the effect of the level of per capita income is weak.

Alexander Galetovic
Ricardo Sanhueza

Publicado en: Economics and Politics, Vol. 12, pp. 183-204, 2000.