Dr. Albrecht, “Revolutions and the Military: Endgame Coups, Instability, and Prospects for Democracy,” Journal Article.

Revolutions and the Military: Endgame Coups, Instability, and Prospects for Democracy

Dr. Holger Albrecht (The University of Alabama) 

Dr. Kevin Koehler (Leiden University) 

November 4, 2019


This article presents a systematic analysis of military coups following popular mass uprisings in nondemocratic regimes, conceptualized as endgame coups. Drawing on our original, medium-n data set of revolutionary situations, we find that such endgame coups form a distinct type of military intervention in politics. Compared to regular coups, episodes of popular mass contestation prompt conservative interventions in politics of the military’s leadership aimed at preserving the regime’s authoritarian infrastructure. A systematic test of factors characterizing postcoup political trajectories is based on Cox proportional hazard models and provides empirical evidence in contrast to the widely held notion of “democratic coups.” Our findings reveal that endgame coups are conservative rollback coups, executed by military leaderships, that result in continued political instability and illiberal politics.