February 04, 2016
News /
Posted by NCID

Gustavo Fajardo from the Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros (CEMFI) presented his paper “Hierarchy, Coups and the Political Preferences of Army Officers” at the University of Navarra in a seminar organized by the NCID.

The project attempts to analyse the role of intra-military hierarchy in coups and how the army plays an important role in the political field in countries with weak institutions.

“My results underline the importance of internal dynamics within the Army. If support for coups is drawn along hierarchical lines, one effect might be that rethinking patronage strategies is merited” said Gustavo Fajardo.

In order to measure if coups polarize the military along hierarchical lines, Gustavo Fajardo analyses what happened in Venezuela after Hugo Chávez’s failed coup in 1992 that put him into jail, before his successful campaign for president in 1998.

“My main finding is that having outranked Chávez at the time of the coup increased the probability of signing a petition drive against his Presidential mandate,” explained Gustavo Fajardo. That petition was organized by the political opposition in 2003 and the list of signatures, compiled in a software program, called Maisanta, and eventually made public.

“I combine the signing choices from Maisanta with the roster of Army officers and information on promotions” said Gustavo Fajardo, leading him to, “observe that outranking Chávez increases the probability of signing the petition against him, approximately doubling baseline signing rate”.

The main conclusion of his paper is based on how coups do polarize the preference towards insubordinate along hierarchical lines and states that officers who outrank coup leaders are less likely to support their agenda.