Prior research has not established a clear relationship between democracy and insulation from coups d'etat. I contend that the lack of attention paid to the conditional influences of democracy have resulted in these mixed findings. I posit that insulation from coups occurs at higher levels of economic development and judicial institutional strength in democracies. Further, the vulnerability at low levels of both economic development and judicial institutional strength is significantly greater in democracies than in autocracies. Empirical assessments of 165 states for the years 1950-2012 offer strong support for both arguments. Results from these studies first help to reconcile earlier research on coup risk in democracies. Second, I point to the conditionality of democratic coup risk by highlighting the roles of economic development and political institutions. Third, I underscore the vast differences in institutional arrangements within democracies, suggesting a more nuanced approach is needed in the study of democratic political institutions. In line with this research, I examine the propensity for democratization in the aftermath of irregular leader removal. Examining the actors and tactics associated with different removal types, I focus on the benefits and challenges posed to democratization in the aftermath of removals. In an empirical assessment of authoritarian states from 1950-2012, I find that only removals resulting from coups, in conjunction with economic development, have significantly higher rates of democratization compared with the null. The results of this study are twofold, finding that not all forms of irregular leadership removal result in similar rates of post-removal democratization and that coups have driven prior results finding an association between irregular leader removal, economic development, and democratization.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Schiel, Rebecca, "The Conditionality of Vulnerability: Three Analyses of Risk and Opportunity in Civil Military Relations" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6179.