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Faculty of Economics

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Leon, G.

Loyalty for Sale? Military Spending and Coups d'Etat


Abstract: 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

Keywords: coups, income, conflict, military spending, political economy

JEL Codes: H56 N40 D72 O17


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