Public Choice

, Volume 169, Issue 3–4, pp 293–313 | Cite as

When to expect a coup d’état? An extreme bounds analysis of coup determinants

  • Martin GassebnerEmail author
  • Jerg Gutmann
  • Stefan Voigt


Over the last several decades, both economists and political scientists have shown interest in coups d’état. Numerous studies have been dedicated to understanding the causes of coups. However, model uncertainty still looms large. About one hundred potential determinants of coups have been proposed, but no consensus has emerged on an established baseline model for analyzing coups. We address this problem by testing the sensitivity of inferences to over three million model permutations in an extreme bounds analysis. Overall, we test the robustness of 66 factors proposed in the empirical literature based on a monthly sample of 164 countries that covers the years 1952–2011. We find that slow economic growth rates, previous coup experiences, and other forms of political violence to be particularly conducive to inciting coups.


Coups d’état Military coups Coup-proofing Extreme bounds analysis 

JEL Classification

D74 F52 H56 K10 



The authors thank Johann Almeida, Maximilian Gercke, Enisa Halili, and Remon Magdy for excellent research assistance. Helpful comments and suggestions by Mulugeta Bogale, Nehal Brain, Safouene Ghannouchi, Omar Khadhraoui, Xenofon Kontargyris, Ekaterine Lomtatidze, Nada Maamoun, Asma Hadj Mabrouk, Maximillian Mantei, Stephan Michel, Konstantinos Pilpilidis, Todd Sandler, and participants of the 2016 Political Violence and Policy Conference are much appreciated.

Supplementary material

11127_2016_365_MOESM1_ESM.docx (46 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 47 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Gassebner
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
    Email author
  • Jerg Gutmann
    • 3
  • Stefan Voigt
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of MacroeconomicsUniversity of HannoverHannoverGermany
  2. 2.KOF Swiss Economic InstituteZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Law and EconomicsUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  4. 4.CESifoMunichGermany

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