Associate Professor of Government Erica De Bruin recently published an article titled “Power Sharing and Coups d’état in Postconflict Settings: Evidence From Burundi and Guinea-Bissau” in the interdisciplinary journal Armed Forces & Society. Caroline Zuchold ’19 provided research assistance for the article.
The article helps explain why coups are so common following the resolution of civil wars. De Bruin argues that power-sharing provisions in civil war peace agreements, which integrate formerly warring parties into the state, can also inadvertently increase the risk of coups d’état.
She said power sharing triggers fears about a loss of status among incumbent elites that can provide new motives for coups, noting that at the same time, it can provide new resources that increase the odds that rebel coups will succeed.
De Bruin said that the cases of coups following peace agreements in Burundi in 2001 and Guinea-Bissau in 1999 illustrate the connection between power-sharing provisions and coup attempts. Though debate remains over whether power sharing prevents civil war recurrence, this article shows how it can create incentives for other forms of political violence.