Department of Economics and Business Economics

Why do Military Dictatorships Become Presidential Democracies? Mapping the Democratic Interests of Autocratic Regimes

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Recent data show that virtually all military dictatorships that democratize become presidential democracies. I hypothesize that the reason is that military interests are able to coordinate on status-preserving institutional change prior to democratization and prefer political institutions with strong veto players. Civilian interests are more likely to suffer from coordination failure by being more diverse and less cohesive, implying that most military democratizations are planned partially while most democratization events from civilian autocracy are unforeseen or poorly planned. Exploring the characteristics of 111 democratization episodes between 1950 and 2017 illustrates features broadly consistent with further theoretical predictions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Choice
Pages (from-to)21-43
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2020

    Research areas

  • Democracy, Dictatorship, Political institutions

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