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The New and Improved Coup d'etat

Photo: Comstock

Sometime around 1991, the standard coup d’etat morphed into something else entirely, according to a new paper by Nikolay Marinov and Hein Goemans: “[W]hereas the vast majority of successful coups before 1991 installed the leader durably in power, after that the picture reverses, with the majority of coups leading to competitive elections.”  Marinov and Goemans believe the change is linked to foreign policy changes after the end of the Cold War.  “We argue that after the Cold War international pressure fundamentally influenced the consequences and causes of coups,” they write.  “In the post-Cold War era those countries that are most dependent on Western aid have been the first to embrace competitive elections after the coup.” (HT: Chris Blattman)