Differences matter: the effect of coup types on physical integrity rights

Journal article

Pfaff, Katharina & Christian Bjørnskov (2021) Differences matter: the effect of coup types on physical integrity rights, European Journal of Political Economy.

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What is the effect of coups d’état on repression? Do ‘bad’ coups against democracies decrease respect for physical integrity rights? Does it make a difference whether a coup d’état is staged by the military or a civilian leader? We argue that the impact of coups on repression varies with regime type as this determines the relative costs of repression and buying political support. Combining updated panel datasets on democracy and coups d’état from 1960 to 2010, we provide an analysis of the effects of coups on physical integrity rights, differentiating post-coup regime type. We find that post-coup respect for physical integrity rights decreases when non-democratic regimes depose democratic regimes through a coup d’état - an effect which is fading over time. As opposed to military autocracies, civilian-led regimes are more repressive in the year after successfully ousting the previous government. Together with supplementary findings on democracy-inducing and failed coups, our findings show that differences in regime types do matter in research of coups d’état.

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