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Coups d’état and defense spending: a counterfactual analysis

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  • Vincenzo Bove

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  • Roberto Nisticò

Abstract

We explore how institutional set-ups, in particular changes in political institutions through coups d’état, can affect the way military expenditures are determined. We use a counterfactual approach, the synthetic control method, and compare the evolution of the military burden for 40 countries affected by coups with the evolution of a synthetic counterfactual that replicates the initial conditions and the potential outcomes of the countries of interest before exposure to coups. Our case studies suggest that successful coups result in a large increase in the military burden. However, when no effects or a decrease in the defense burden are found, it is often the consequence of a democratization process triggered by the coup. These results are in keeping with recent theoretical developments on the bargaining power of the military in authoritarian regimes. Failed coups, by contrast, produce a smaller, and mostly positive, effect on the military burden, possibly as a result of the incumbent’s strategy to avert further challenges to the stability of the regime by buying off the military. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Vincenzo Bove & Roberto Nisticò, 2014. "Coups d’état and defense spending: a counterfactual analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 321-344, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:161:y:2014:i:3:p:321-344
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-014-0202-2
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    Cited by:

    1. Bove Vincenzo & Elia Leandro & Pelliccia Marco, 2016. "Centrality in Trade Networks and Investment in Security," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 22(1), pages 27-39, January.
    2. Martin Gassebner & Jerg Gutmann & Stefan Voigt, 2016. "When to expect a coup d’état? An extreme bounds analysis of coup determinants," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(3), pages 293-313, December.
    3. Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2016. "Reassessing the Economic Effects of Post-Socialist Constitutions Using the Synthetic Control Method," Working Papers 2016-18, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    4. Aney, Madhav S. & Ko, Giovanni, 2015. "Expropriation risk and competition within the military," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 125-149.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Military expenditure; Coups d’état; Synthetic control method; H11; H56;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War

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