Working Paper No. 1225

Coups, Regime Transition, and the Dynamics of Press Freedom

Published: August 20, 2018Pages: 34Keywords: Coup; Political instability; Press freedomJEL-codes: D74; H12; L51; L82

Coups, Regime Transition, and the Dynamics of Press Freedom Christian Bjørnskov, Andreas Freytag and Jerg Gutmann

This paper explores the dynamics of press freedom around events that threaten or oust the incumbent regime of a country. While democracies on average grant the press more freedom, our theoretical starting point is that democracies and autocracies may have similar incentives to protect the power of the governing regime. A priori it is, nevertheless, not clear whether democracies or autocracies react more harshly – by silencing or controlling the media – to an attempt to overthrow the government. We estimate the dynamics of press freedom around both failed and successful coups and find that although press freedom is quite stable, successful coups lead to a substantial reduction in press freedom. This is, however, only the case when the coup is directed against a democratically elected government.​

Christian Bjørnskov


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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union and the Return of the Nation State


This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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