Department of Economics and Business Economics

A study of triggering events: when do political regimes change?

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Political regimes are stable most years, but sometimes they jump. The stable years are periods of political status-quo equilibrium. To break a status quo requires a triggering event. The paper is an attempt to identify and classify what close observers at the time thought were the triggering events in a sample of 262 larger regime changes between 1960 and 2015 in 170 countries. The sample consists of all changes in the Polity index with a numerical rating above 3 (i.e. of 4 or more). The source for the triggering events is country-relevant articles in The Economist. Triggering events are classified in a (2 x 2) table with four cells: (DP) domestic political, (DE) domestic economic, (XP) external political, and (XE) external economic, which remains empty. By far the most common is (DP), but the domestic political events prove to be very different. Thus, most jumps are exogenous in the perspective of development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Choice
Pages (from-to)181-199
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Political system changes, triggering events, the Democratic Transition

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