Regime-Altering Instabilities

M.D. Ward; N.W. Metternich; A. Beger
Working Paper , 2012

Political transitions present a crucible for governance. Political systems are judged in large part by the nature of those transitions, and unfortunately in many states they manifest as coups by actors inside or outside the government who overthrow established rule. We examine the incidence of coups with a split-population duration model that  separates polities at risk from those that are not empirically, as well estimates how the chances of a coup evolve over the course of an established regime. Relying on monthly data about intra-governmental conflict, and information from the Polity project on changes in the character of political institutions, we are able to build a accurate model of coups d'etat that is theoretically grounded as well as useful for out-of-sample prediction.