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

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  • Martin Paldam

    (Aarhus University)

Abstract

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 × 2) table with four cells: domestic political (DP), domestic economic (DE), external political (XP), and external economic (XE), 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Paldam, 2020. "A study of triggering events: When do political regimes change?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 182(1), pages 181-199, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:182:y:2020:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-019-00678-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-019-00678-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andersen, Thomas Barnebeck & Jensen, Peter Sandholt, 2017. "Preaching Democracy," Discussion Papers of Business and Economics 4/2017, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Business and Economics.
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    3. Toke S. Aidt & Raphaël Franck, 2015. "Democratization Under the Threat of Revolution: Evidence From the Great Reform Act of 1832," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 505-547, March.
    4. Martin Paldam & Erich Gundlach, 2018. "Jumps into Democracy: Integrating the Short and Long Run in the Democratic Transition," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(3), pages 456-481, August.
    5. Daniel Treisman, 2017. "Democracy by mistake," NBER Working Papers 23944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gundlach, Erich & Paldam, Martin, 2009. "A farewell to critical junctures: Sorting out long-run causality of income and democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 340-354, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Khalid Sekkat, 2016. "A time to throw stones, a time to reap: How long does it take for democratic transitions to improve institutional outcomes?," Working Papers CEB 16-016, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Political system changes; Triggering events; The democratic transition;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • P26 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Political Economy

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