Failed coups, political survival, and civil liberties restrictions in nondemocratic regimes


SOCIAL SCIENCE JOURNAL, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/03623319.2020.1827686
  • Title of Journal : SOCIAL SCIENCE JOURNAL


Nondemocratic regimes are built on coercive state mechanisms that are designed to suppress popular demands for democratization. Nevertheless, in practice, they display different patterns of civil liberties restrictions. This study makes a novel contribution to the literature on comparative authoritarianism and human rights by providing an account of the impact of failed coups on civil liberties restrictions in non-democratic regimes. We argue that failed coups lead to more than targeted repression of coup plotters and potential challengers. After facing coup attempts, nondemocratic leaders have stronger incentives to retain their power by averting not only future coups but also future revolts. As such, they restrict civil liberties in order to prevent the emergence and mobilization of dissent in society. Analyzing 70 nondemocratic regimes during the period of 1976-2016, we find that civil liberties restrictions are more likely to increase in the wake of failed coups.