Spatial rivalry and coups against dictators

Florea, A. (2018) Spatial rivalry and coups against dictators. Security Studies, 27(1), pp. 1-26. (doi: 10.1080/09636412.2017.1360072)

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Dictators' survival depends on the effectiveness of their coup-proofing tactics. Yet coup-proofing strategies can become ineffective in the presence of certain structural conditions that enhance the resources, organizational power, and coordination capacity of the army. One such structural condition is the presence of spatial rivalry, international rivalry over disputed territory. Autocratic incumbents invested in spatial rivalries need to strengthen the military in order to compete with a foreign adversary. The imperative of developing a strong army puts dictators in a paradoxical situation: to compete with a rival state, they must empower the very agency—the military—that is most likely to threaten their own survival in office. This logic suggests that authoritarian regimes engaged in spatial rivalries will be more vulnerable to coups. Indeed, relying on the most comprehensive coup dataset to date, this article reveals that rivalry over territory is a robust predictor of coups against autocrats. The findings carry implications for research on civil–military relations, international rivalries, and organizational dynamics within authoritarian regimes.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Florea, Dr Adrian
Authors: Florea, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Central and East European Studies
Journal Name:Security Studies
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1556-1852
Published Online:18 August 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
First Published:First published in Security Studies 27(1):1-26
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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