Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1194: Why Do Military Dictatorships Become Presidential Democracies? Mapping the Democratic Interests of Autocratic Regimes

Christian Bjørnskov ()
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Christian Bjørnskov: Aarhus University, Postal: Denmark, and Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN), Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: This paper starts with the observation that almost all military dictatorships that democratize become presidential democracies. I hypothesize that military interests are able to coordinate on status-preserving institutional change prior to democratization and therefore prefer political institutions with strong veto players. Parallel civilian interests conversely suffer from coordination failure by being more diverse and les cohesive. The hypothesis therefore implies that most military democratizations are partially planned while most democratization events from civilian autocracy are either unforeseen or poorly planned. Exploring the characteristics of 111 democratization episodes between 1950 and 2015, I find a number of features broadly consistent with further theoretical predictions.

Keywords: Dictatorship; Democracy; Political institutions

JEL-codes: D72; D74; K16; P16

38 pages, December 14, 2017

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