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The impact of coups d'etat on civil war duration

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The impact of coups d'etat on civil war duration

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Abstract

This paper considers how coups d’état influence the duration of civil wars. While previous work on civil war duration has ignored coups, grouped them alongside civil wars or considered them as a special type of conflict, this article recognizes coups as dramatic events that can quickly change the course of a conflict. Coups that take place during a civil war can shock an otherwise intractable bargaining situation, shortening the war’s duration. This shock influences both information and credibility concerns. Coups condense government preferences into a single, unified viewpoint and allow governments to efficiently translate preferences into action. They likewise combine the military with the government, effectively eliminating the military as a potential spoiler, which helps ease the commitment problem. These expectations are tested by examining the impact of successful coups on civil war duration, 1950-2009. Results suggest that coups indeed serve as peace-inducing shocks, primarily by working through the credibility mechanism.

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... Additionally, we include a control for whether the civil war state experienced a coup during the conflict (Powell and Thyne 2011). As noted by Thyne (2017), coups often reshape the bargaining structure during civil wars, dramatically shortening the duration of the conflict. To account for the number of veto players in the conflict (Cunningham 2006), we control for the number of parallel wars being fought in the civil war state (parallel wars) using the measure from Thyne (2017). ...
... As noted by Thyne (2017), coups often reshape the bargaining structure during civil wars, dramatically shortening the duration of the conflict. To account for the number of veto players in the conflict (Cunningham 2006), we control for the number of parallel wars being fought in the civil war state (parallel wars) using the measure from Thyne (2017). Furthermore, we include a control for the intensity of the conflict to account for the costs of the war, as more brutal civil wars often force government officials to negotiate with dissidents (Zartman 2000;Mason, Weingarten, and Fett 1999;Greig and Regan 2008). ...
... 8 We should also note that our control variables seem to support much of the previous research on civil war duration. For instance, civil wars appear to be shortened following the occurrence of a successful coup (Thyne 2017). Furthermore, greater conflict intensity appears to be tied to longer civil wars as well. ...
Article
New research has begun to underscore the complicated relationship between democratic institutions and the duration of civil wars. Specifically, greater constraints placed on executives often lead to considerably longer civil wars as leaders are limited in how they bargain with dissidents. This presents a puzzle as democracies are often seen as credible negotiators in international disputes. This article suggests that the size of the government’s winning coalition represents a double-edged sword. Larger winning coalitions allow governments to bargain more credibly but also place constraints on what governments can offer since peace agreements may alienate coalition members. Fortunately, future access to postwar oil wealth provides the feasibility for the governments to compensate hard-liners who may lose out on any settlement, making them more likely to allow concessions to rebels. This combined credibility of large winning coalitions and the feasibility provided by oil wealth allows for peace agreements, therefore shortening the duration of civil wars. We test these propositions by examining the conditional relationship between oil wealth and coalition size on the duration of all civil wars between 1950 and 2009.
... Though existing research has highlighted an increased threat of coups during civil war and improved our understanding of the linkages between coups and civil war (e.g. Roessler 2016; Aksoy, Carter, and Wright 2015;Powell 2015;Thyne 2015), we know very little about the variations within wartime coups. More generally, though the notion that variations in the anticipation of punishment in the form of losing office shape state leaders' wartime decisions underpins many prominent theories of both civil war (Prorok 2016(Prorok , 2018 and interstate war (e.g. ...
... This is certainly positive news given that shortening the war would save many lives and resources. My findings also illuminate the causal mechanisms behind the literature's finding that successful coups during civil war shorten the duration of a civil war (Thyne 2015). Because coups that take place during a civil war tend to put nonculpable leaders in power who have no incentives to keep fighting, the war is more likely to end quickly after the successful coup. ...
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Who punishes leaders via coups during civil war? By distinguishing between different types of internal audiences within the government and their attempts to remove a leader forcefully, I illuminate the mechanisms that explain variation in who punishes the leader during wartime. I claim that whether leaders are culpable for the initiation of the war has an important implication for whether they are punished by members of the ruling coalition (i.e., those with access to decision-making and political power), or by those outside the ruling coalition. Empirical evidence supports my hypotheses: (i) culpable leaders are more likely to experience coup attempts led by those outside the leaders’ ruling coalition, should the war go poorly; and (ii) nonculpable leaders are more likely to experience coups executed by members of their ruling coalition. The findings have important implications for how leaders respond to audience pressures as they consider whether to fight or settle.
... In (Bell & Sudduth, 2017;de Bruin, 2018;Gassebner, Gutmann & Voigt, 2016;Grewal & Kureshi, 2019;Powell et al., 2018;Thyne, 2017). ...
Thesis
Coup attempts, as the recent ones in Turkey (2016), Sudan (2019) or Mali (2020) constitute one of the biggest risks to democracy and regional stability. In the past decades, many ROs including the EU, AU or OAS have taken a strong position against coups, establishing a global anti-coup norm in ROs. Yet the responses of ROs to coups are diverse and apparently contradictory. The thesis examines which role ROs play after coups. For doing so, it is analysed when and how ROs respond to coups (research question 1), which factors influence the strength of their responses (research question 2) and under which conditions ROs strive for different post-coup solutions, e.g. the reinstatement of the ousted government or new elections (research question 3). Coups violate basic democratic standards in ROs, but they also constitute a risk to regional stability. It is argued that when confronted with a coup, ROs take both aspects into account and adjust their responses accordingly. Using a mixed-methods approach, which combines quantitative and qualitative techniques, the plausibility of the argument is tested. The results confirm the initial expectation: The more detrimental a coup is for the state of democracy in a country and the higher its risk of destabilizing the region, the more decisively ROs will respond to the event.
... Not all conflicts identified by UCDP data are costly for the leaders and the military so I only include conflicts that reach 1000 battle deaths by consulting the Cumulative Intensity variable in the UCDP data. As recommended by Thyne (2017), civil wars in the UCDP data that are captured as coup events in the Powell and Thyne data (2011) are recoded to 0. They are recoded in order to distinguish coup events that have led to more than 25 fatalities from civil wars thus avoiding conflating the impact of war estimators and biasing the results. 14 One might argue that interstate and civil wars have different implications for civilmilitary relations and, therefore, they should be treated separately in the analysis. ...
Article
Why does the military in some countries get involved in the economy by running profit-making enterprises and what leads governments to permit such involvement? Running household appliance factories, transportation agencies, banks, hotels, etc., are indeed unrelated to national security and are far removed from the regular roles assigned to militaries. Such involvement has further implications for both politics and the economy. I argue that the process of military involvement in the economy functions as a survival strategy for leaders and a profit-making scheme for the military. Using original cross-national data on the emergence of military involvement in the economy, this research demonstrates that militaries are more likely to get involved in the economy when the military’s institutional interests are at risk and when the government has to rely on the military to maintain power. Leaders allow the military to benefit financially through economic activities in order to stay in power.
... Conflicts that are mobilized along ethnic lines have been found to last longer than nonethnic conflicts (de Rouen and Sobek 2004), so we also include a binary indicator of Ethnic Conflict. Additionally, Thyne (2017) finds that coups d'état can significantly reduce the duration of civil conflicts. We therefore include an indicator that captures whether a coup attempt occurred in a given year of each conflict. ...
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Chaim Kaufmann is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University. The author's thanks are owed to many people. Robert Pape's extensive help made a decisive difference in the quality of the final product. Helpful criticism was provided by Henri Barkey, Richard Betts, Michael Desch, Matthew Evangelista, Charles Glaser, Emily Goldman, Robert Hayden, Ted Hopf, Stuart Kaufman, Rajan Menon, Bruce Moon, Roger Peterson, Jack Snyder, Stephen Van Evera, and the members of the PIPES Seminar at the University of Chicago. 1. Ted Robert Gurr, "Peoples Against States: Ethnopolitical Conflict and the Changing World System," International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 3 (September 1994), pp. 347-377, lists fifty current ethnic conflicts of which thirteen had each caused more than 100,000 deaths to date. 2. Gerald B. Helman and Steven R. Ratner, "Saving Failed States," Foreign Policy, No. 89 (Winter 1992-93), pp. 3-20; William Pfaff, "Invitation to War," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Summer 1993), pp. 97-109; John Chipman, "Managing the Politics of Parochialism," in Michael E. Brown, ed., Ethnic Conflict and International Security (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993), pp. 237-263; Flora Lewis, "Reassembling Yugoslavia," Foreign Policy, No. 98 (Spring 1995), pp. 132-144; I. William Zartman, "Putting Things Back Together," in Zartman, ed., Collapsed States: The Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate Authority (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1995), pp. 267-273. 3. "Let no one think there is an easy or a simple solution to this tragedy," which results from "age-old animosities," said George Bush, "whatever pressure and means the international community brings to bear." Quoted in Andrew Rosenthal, "Bush Urges UN to Back Force to Get Aid to Bosnia," New York Times, August 7, 1992. For similar views see Colin L. Powell, "Why Generals Get Nervous," New York Times, October 8, 1992; Charles Krauthammer, "Bosnian Analogies; Pick Your History, Pick Your Policy," Washington Post, May 7, 1993; Conor Cruise O'Brien, "The Wrath of Ages: Nationalism's Primordial Roots," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 72, No. 5 (November/December 1993), pp. 142-149. 4. Ethnic wars involve organized large-scale violence, whether by regular forces (Turkish or Iraqi operations against the Kurds) or highly mobilized civilian populations (the interahamwe in Rwanda or the Palestinian intifada). A frequent aspect is "ethnic cleansing": efforts by members of one ethnic group to eliminate the population of another from a certain area by means such as discrimination, expropriation, terror, expulsion, and massacre. For proposals on managing ethnic rivalries involving lower levels of ethnic mobilization and violence, see Stephen Van Evera, "Managing the Eastern Crisis: Preventing War in the Former Soviet Empire," Security Studies, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Spring 1992), pp. 361-382; Ted Hopf, "Managing Soviet Disintegration: A Demand for Behavioral Regimes," International Security, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Summer 1992), pp. 44-75. 5. Although ethnic partitions have often been justified on grounds of self-determination, the argument for separation here is based purely on humanitarian grounds. The first to argue publicly for partition as a humanitarian solution was John J. Mearsheimer, "Shrink Bosnia to Save It," New York Times, March 31, 1993. 6. To avoid discounting fundamentally similar conflicts because of differences in international legal status, "civil" wars are defined here as those among "geographically contiguous people concerned about possibly having to live with one another in the same political unit after the conflict." Roy Licklider, "How Civil Wars End," in Licklider, ed., Stopping the Killing (New York: New York University Press, 1993), p. 9. Thus the Abkhazian rebellion in Georgia and the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan are both properly considered ethnic civil wars. 7. An ethnic group (or nation) is commonly defined as a body of individuals who purportedly share cultural or racial characteristics, especially common ancestry or territorial origin, which distinguish them from members of other groups. See Max Weber (Guenther Roth, and Claus Wittich, eds.), Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, Vol. 1 (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1968), pp. 389, 395; Anthony D. Smith, National Identity (Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1991), pp. 14, 21. Opposing communities in ethnic civil conflicts hold irreconcilable visions of the identity, borders, and citizenship of the state...
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Many sources of economic data cover only a limited set of states at any given point in time. Data are often systematically missing for some states over certain time periods. In the context of conflict studies, economic data are frequently unavailable for states involved in conflicts, undermining the ability to draw inferences of linkages between economic and political interactions. For example, simply using available data in a study of trade and conflict and disregarding observations with missing data on economic variables excludes key conflicts such as the Berlin crisis, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Gulf War from the sample. A set of procedures are presented to create additional estimates to remedy some of the coverage problems for data on gross domestic product, population, and bilateral trade flows.
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Whereas previous research has focused primarily on how ethnicity may trigger civil war, its effect on conflict duration remains disputed. We argue that ethnicity as such does not affect civil war duration. However, if states implement discriminatory policies based on ethnicity, members of politically excluded ethnic groups develop grievances that can make rebel organizations more durable. This argument challenges the view that only cognitive aspects of ethnic identities, e.g. information, trust, or common language, help to overcome collective action problems. We stress that state-induced grievances motivate members of excluded ethnic groups to participate in enduring rebel organizations. In line with our theoretical argument, we find that conflicts last longer if rebel organizations operate on behalf of politically excluded ethnic groups. Contrary to what is assumed in the literature, state-induced grievances, and not rigid identities, prolong civil wars.
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Thyne, Clayton L. (2012) Information, Commitment, and Intra-War Bargaining: The Effect of Governmental Constraints on Civil War Duration. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2478.2012.00719.x © 2012 International Studies Association This article considers how governmental variations affect the duration of civil conflicts. Recent work suggests that war termination is likely when competing actors gain information about the power balance and are able to credibly commit to war-ending agreements. I focus on how the strength and stability of executives impact these factors. Regarding information, power consolidation within the government reduces the number of people who must agree on a settlement, which should shorten civil conflicts. Stable leadership should likewise shorten conflicts by making it harder for potential spoilers to derail war-ending agreements, helping minimize credibility problems. This argument is tested by examining how variations in institutional design (executive constitutional and legislative power), political strength (ideological fragmentation and polarization), and stability (leadership tenure) affect the duration of civil conflicts from 1946 to 2004. The results suggest that powerful and stable executives are indeed well equipped to end civil conflicts.
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We argue that international organizations decrease the duration of international conflicts by mitigating commitment problems and encouraging combatants to cease hostilities more quickly. Empirical analyses of militarized interstate dispute duration (1950–2000) reveal that increasing shared international organization (IO) participation reduces the length of disputes, even after accounting for selection into international conflict. We also find that international organizations designed to mitigate commitment problems decrease dispute duration, while IOs capable of reducing information asymmetries do not influence dispute length.
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This article examines international interventions in the aftermath of civil wars to see whether peace lasts longer when peacekeepers are present than when they are absent. Because peacekeeping is not applied to cases at random, I first address the question of where international personnel tend to be deployed. I then attempt to control for factors that might affect both the likelihood of peacekeepers being sent and the ease or difficulty of maintaining peace so as to avoid spurious findings. I find, in a nutshell, that peacekeeping after civil wars does indeed make an important contribution to the stability of peace.