Loyalty for Sale? Military Spending and Coups d'Etat

Research OPEN
Leon, G. (2012)

Coups d'etat continue to be common around the world, often leading to changes in leaders and institutions. We examine the relationship between military spending and coups and find that (i) successful coups increase military spending by more than failed attempts, and (ii) coups are more likely when military spending as a share of GDP is relatively low. Our identification strategy exploits the conditional independence between a coup's outcome and the change in military spending that follows it. We interpret this as evidence that the military may stage coups in order to increase its funding, and rule out several alternative mechanisms.
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