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The Geography of Dictatorship and Support for Democracy

Author

Listed:
  • Maria Angelica Bautista

    (University of Chicago)

  • Felipe Gonzalez

    (Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile)

  • Luis R. Martınez

    (University of Chicago)

  • Pablo Munoz

    (University of California - Berkeley)

  • Mounu Prem

    (Universidad del Rosario)

Abstract

We show that proximity to military bases during the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile (1973-1990) exposed civilians to more state repression and led to (i) stronger electoral opposition to Pinochet and (ii) a long-lasting strengthening of democratic values. Our empirical strategy exploits the location of military bases during the many decades of democratic rule before the military coup, which we show is unrelated to pre-coup electoral outcomes. We find that residents of counties housing these bases both registered and voted “No†to Pinochet’s continuation in power at higher rates in the crucial 1988 plebiscite that bolstered the democratic transition. These counties also experienced more civilian deaths and forced disappearances during the dictatorship, indicating that increased exposure to repression affected voters' behavior. After democratization, residents of these counties who were exposed to the military coup report greater support for democracy in surveys, but there are no persistent effects on electoral outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Maria Angelica Bautista & Felipe Gonzalez & Luis R. Martınez & Pablo Munoz & Mounu Prem, 2019. "The Geography of Dictatorship and Support for Democracy," Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC) Working Papers 13, Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:esocpu:13
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    Keywords

    Chile; dictatorship; repression; democratization; human rights;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • N46 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Latin America; Caribbean

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