Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Research Institute of Industrial Economics

No 1281: Coups, Regime Transitions, and Institutional Change

Daniel L. Bennett (), Christian Bjørnskov () and Stephan F. Gohmann ()
Additional contact information
Daniel L. Bennett: Baugh Center for Entrepreneurship & Free Enterprise, Postal: Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University,, 1621 S 3rd St, Waco, TX 76706, USA
Christian Bjørnskov: Department of Economics, Postal: Aarhus University, Fuglesangs Allé 4, DK-8210 Aarhus V, Denmark, and Research Institute of Industrial Economics, P.O. Box 55665, SE-102 15 Stockholm, Sweden
Stephan F. Gohmann: Center for Free Enterprise, Postal: Department of Economics, College of Business, Room 141, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA

Abstract: Coups and regime transitions are events that typically are intended to change the basic institutional framework of a country. Which specific policies change and the consequences of these changes nevertheless remains largely unknown. Change after a coup or transition implies that some form of political or judiciary barrier has been erected or removed. We therefore focus on what happens to the quality of judicial institutions and political corruption around coup attempts and other types of regime transitions. We hypothesize that when coups are conducted by members of the incumbent political elite, they are likely to remove barriers to change while coup makers outside of the ruling elite are more likely to do the opposite and thus protect themselves from what remains of the elite in the political system. Using the Bjørnskov-Rode coup data, our results suggest that successful coups are associated with degradation of institutions, with successful military coups in particular having a significant negative effect. Results are more varied for civilian coups where we find indications of differences depending on whether the coup makers are part of a political elite or not.

Keywords: Coups; Institutional Quality; Autocracy; Corruption; Judicial Constraints; Regime Transition

JEL-codes: O43; P16; P26

44 pages, May 27, 2019

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