Carnegie Mellon University

Andrew Bausch, Coup-proofing and Military Inefficiencies: An Experiment

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 4:30-5:30pm, Baker Hall A51, Giant Eagle Auditorium

Coup-proofing occurs when a dictator arranges his military to decrease the probability of military leaders overthrowing him. However, coup-proofing often has the additional effect of lowering the military's effectiveness in international war. Coup-proofing will be in the context of Nouri al-Maliki's arrangement in Iraq before a pair of formal models of coup-proofing are presented. The first model shows when faced with the possibility of a coup, dictators select military commanders with lower ability but higher loyalty. The second model shows that when faced with the possibility of a coup, dictators rotate their military commanders to prevent any one commander from becoming too powerful. The paper then presents experimental tests of the model. The results of these laboratory experiments show that when leadership turnover through coups is possible, leaders are more likely to select loyal commanders or rotate their commanders relative to groups with no leadership turnover or with leadership turnover according to democratic rules. Thus, when faced with the possibility of a coup, leaders intentionally lower the effectiveness of their military.

Andrew Bausch Bio:

Andrew Bausch is an SDS Fellow at Carnegie Mellon. He recently finished his PhD at New York University. His work focuses on the relation between domestic political institutions and interstate conflict.

Sponsored by the Center for International Relations and Politics.