Results for “coup”
568 found

Are wages for same-sex couples converging?

An extensive literature on labor-market outcomes by sexual orientation finds lower wages for men in same-sex couples and higher wages for women in same-sex couples compared to their counterparts in different-sex couples. Previous studies analyzing multiple time periods provide suggestive evidence that the wage penalty for men in same-sex couples is heading toward zero. Using data from the American Community Survey on individuals in couples from 2000 to 2019, we find no evidence that wages, earnings, or incomes of men in same-sex couples are improving relative to married men in different-sex couples. For women in same-sex couples, we see mixed evidence of convergence relative to married women in different-sex couples. The persistence of a wage penalty for men in same-sex couples is concerning in the face of anti-discrimination policies and rising overall tolerance by Americans with respect to sexual orientation.

That is from new research by Christopher Jepsen and Lisa Jepsen, vtekl.

Who is the best-known, non-political American married couple?

With Bill and Melinda Gates divorcing, and Kanye and Kim doing the same, America now has a paucity of very well-known married couples, at least outside of politics, where Barack and Michelle Obama reign supreme.

Who is the Lucy and Desi of our time?  The George Burns and Gracie Allen?  The Sonny and Cher?

George and Amal Clooney are in the running, but is she so well known to most Americans?  Could they tell you her name from scratch, or cite what she is known for?

Kurt Cobain has passed away, as has Kobe Bryant, Larry and Laurie David split some time ago, and John and Yoko and Paul and Linda (an honorary American couple, for media purposes) are distant memories.  Movie stars barely still exist these days.

Perhaps Elon Musk will marry Grimes, who is a musical star of some renown.

Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn have been married for 24 years, and they are pretty well known.

Harry and Meghan maybe are becoming an American couple, at least for media purposes?

Who else?

Why Twitter Isn’t Good for Coups

Here is Naunihal Singh interviewed by FP on the uprising in Venezuela–very much in the tradition of Tullock’s classic on Autocracy which argued that so-called popular uprisings almost always mask internal coups and Chwe’s work on the importance of common knowledge for coordinating action.

Naunihal Singh: Here’s the thing: At the heart of every coup, there is a dilemma for the people in the military. And it goes like this: You need to figure out which side you’re going to support, and in doing so, your primary consideration is to avoid a civil war or a fratricidal conflict.

If done correctly, a coup-maker will get up there and make the case that they have the support of everybody in the military, and therefore any resistance is minor and futile and that everyone should, either actively or passively, support the coup. And if you can convince people that’s the case, it becomes the case.

But in order to do this, you need to convince everyone not only that you’re going to succeed, but that everyone else thinks that you’re going to succeed. And in order to do that, you need to use some sort of public broadcast.

What is important here is the simultaneity of it. It’s the fact that you know that everybody else has heard the same thing as you have. And social media—Twitter—doesn’t do that.

FP: And can you tell us why Twitter isn’t really going to cut it?

NS: What broadcasts do is they create collective belief in collective action. Coup-making is about manipulating people’s beliefs and expectations about each other.

If I’m commanding one unit, even if I see Juan Guaidó’s official Tweet, I’m not going to even know how many other people within the military have seen it. What’s more, I would have good reason to believe that the penetration of this tweet within the military will be pretty slight. I have no idea what internet access is like inside the Venezuelan military right now. But I imagine that most military people don’t follow Juan Guaidó’s feed, because doing so would expose them to sanctions from military intelligence, and in that context, it would very clearly mark them as a traitor. But the other thing is this—what we think of as viral tweets operate on a far slower time scale than a broadcast. And coups happen in hours.

FP: Guaidó delivered his message to Venezuela this morning standing in front of men in green fatigues with helmets on, and armored vehicles in the background. Tell me about how Guaidó is drawing on familiar visual strategies of coups. What did he get right and wrong about the optics?

NS: It’s a dawn video, which is very classic. But there’s a problem: Guaidó does have military people there, but in order to be more credible he would have had a high-ranking military figure standing side by side with him. He can’t make it appear like there’s a military takeover. He also has to make it clear that this is a civilian action and that it’s within the constitution. As a result, he’s standing at the front and he’s got some soldiers in the back, but because they are low-ranking soldiers, it doesn’t mean very much, and it doesn’t carry very much weight.

Could wage decoupling be because of health insurance?

From Scott Alexander:

There are a few lines of argument that suggest it’s not true.

First, wage growth has been worst for the lowest-paid workers. But the lowest-paid workers don’t usually get insurance at all.

Second, the numbers don’t really add up. Median household income in 1973 was about $48,000 in today’s dollars. Since then, productivity has increased by between 70% and 140% (EVERYBODY DISAGREES ON THIS NUMBER), so if median income had kept pace with productivity it should be between $82,000 and $115,000. Instead, it is $59,000. So there are between $23,000 and $67,000 of missing income to explain.

The average health insurance policy costs about $7000 per individual or $20000 per family, of which employers pay $6000 and $14000 respectively. But as mentioned above, many people do not have employer-paid insurance at all, so the average per person cost is less than that. Usually only one member of a household will pay for family insurance, even if both members work; sometimes only one member of a household will buy insurance at all. So the average cost of insurance to a company per employee is well below the $6000 to $14000 number. If we round it off to $6000 per person, that only explains a quarter of the lowest estimate of the productivity gap, and less than a tenth of the highest estimate. So it’s unlikely that this is the main cause.

I don’t agree with all of his framing (are there different deflators floating around in those estimates?  Scott does discuss that later in the post), but those points are worth considering nonetheless.  On Scott’s broader points (not discussed in my excerpt), I think he is underemphasizing the possibility that productivity may be measuring better than it really performed, and thus there is not so much decoupling at all.

For the pointer I thank Benjamin Cole.

Have the Saudis created a coup-proof society?

You might wish to read James T. Quinlavin from 1999 (pdf), who also covers Syria and Iraq, here is one bit:

While observers have pointed to the apparent fragility of this balance for decades, the longevity of the balancing act is both a tribute to the Saudi rulers and evidence that their tools are more effective than generally recognized.

Ibn Saud’s personal conquest of Arabia, supported by a community of trust of about sixty men willing to fight against the odds, began with the recapture of the family seat in Riyadh. From there Ibn Saud went on to conquer the Nejd, the traditional heartland of Arabia, relying on both war and marriage to personalize his alliances and conquests. Marriage, even to bereaved relatives of defeated opponents, provided Ibn Saud an effective means of monitoring his enemies. The tribes of the Nejd made up the human core of Saudi Arabia, while Ibn Saud’s numerous progeny comprised the dynasty’s human core. Today the al-Sauds rule from a base within a family group that is not monolithic. Bonds of personal loyalty rather than of an “abstract notion of citizenship” extend from the family to the tribal groups. Only nontribal Saudis define their relation to the Saudi rulers in the latter terms.

Here is another:

To varying degrees, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria have come to concentrate key capabilities of offense and defense in parallel military forces. The total military power of the state is reduced, however, when these forces are not made available when needed.

Ahmed Al Omran on Twitter, a former WSJ correspondent, is monitoring current developments.  If you are wondering, Saudi stocks have rebounded.

Failed coups in democracies do not seem to depress economic growth

Here is my first column for Bloomberg View (more on that transition soon), on the research of Erik Myersson:

In autocracies, successful coups often improve economic performance, perhaps by replacing an incompetent or malevolent leader. In democratic countries, however, a successful coup is associated with lower per capita growth rates by an average of 1 to 1.3 percentage points per year over the following decade. On average, these coups reverse beneficial economic reforms, especially for the financial sector.

When a coup does overthrow a democratically elected government, it tends to bring a military leader and significant changes in policy, and not usually for the better. There are long-run correlations of such successful coups against democracies with lower investment, lower schooling and higher infant mortality.

…for failed coups in democracies the more general historical results are quite different. In fact, they are difficult to distinguish from no economic growth effects at all. Given the various imprecisions of statistics, this does not prove that failed coups will have no growth effects, but it can be said that the numbers give us no clear reason to be worried, at least not over the 10-year time horizon chosen by Meyersson. This may be one reason why asset markets do not seem to be panicking over the failed Turkish coup attempt.

To be sure, there are some possible or even likely short run effects of the recent turmoil, such as declines in tourism or foreign investment. Still, the data as a whole are showing that the long-run fundamentals of democracies with failed coups tend to reassert themselves within the 10-year time horizon, and those short-run disruptions end up mattering less than we might think.

Do read the whole thing.  You will note that shares of the Turkish closed end mutual fund are still up about thirteen percent for the year (FT link), though down 2.5 percent at Friday’s close.

Now if Turkey had left the European Union, that would be a different matter altogether…

Coups are less frequent these days, but more likely to succeed

In other words, last night was an outlier.  Here is Jonathan M. Powell and Clayton L. Thyne in the Journal of Peace Research:

We also see some interesting trends in the frequency of coup attempts over time. As shown in Figure 2, there is a fairly clear decline in the total frequency of coup attempts over time. The high point for coup attempts came in the mid-1960s, followed by two more bubbles in the mid-1970s and the early 1990s. The number of successful coups has likewise decreased over time. We saw 12 successful coups in both 1963 and 1966. The mid- to late-1970s also saw a brief burst of successful coups (ranging from 3 to 9 for each year). An interesting trend emerges when we look at the percentage of coup attempts that resulted in successful regime changes, which we plot on the right side of the Y-axis. The mean success rate is 48% during the entire time span. This rate saw early peaks around 1970 and 1980, and then a decline until the turn of the century. However, we see another spike in the success rate starting in 2003. Twelve of the 18 (67%) coup attempts since then have been successful, and only one of the most recent four coup attempts has failed. While coups have certainly waned over time, the recent success of coup plotters suggests that coups remain a key element of governmental instability.

I cannot readily pull out Figure 2 from the pdf, but it is on p.7 of the document.  Note that their data run up through 2010, and thus do not cover the Arab Spring.

Are military coups based on popular opinion? Poor growth performance?

Here is Naunihal Singh, writing at Monkey Cage a few years ago:

More fundamentally problematic, however, is the assumption that popular opinion has an impact on coups. Although this claim is common in political science, there is no evidence to support it. Over the course of writing my book, “Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups,” I spent 300 hours talking with participants in 10 coup attempts in Ghana and statistically analyzed the determinants of every coup attempt and outcome in the world from 1950 to 2000. Based on this evidence, I argue that there is no reason to believe that military factions hesitate to attempt coups when popular opinion is against them, or that coup attempts are more likely to fail when the populace is opposed.

Over the course of this research, I observed that conspirators devoted very little consideration during coup plotting to the question of how the population would react. Coup makers are largely convinced that their cause is just (even when the coup comes from a partisan or personal interest), and that they will have widespread popular support for their actions, with perhaps limited opposition coming from entrenched special interests.

…there is no relationship between economic growth rates and the likelihood of a coup. Similarly, there is no relationship between regime type and coup attempts. Even though democracies are presumed to have higher levels of legitimacy than other kinds of political regimes, they were no more or less likely to experience coup attempts. Lastly, coup attempts were actually more likely to occur during presidential election years, which suggests that conspirators were acting to thwart the popular will rather than being constrained by it.

…The bottom line is that the dynamics of a coup attempt are almost entirely internal to the military.

Read the whole thing.  Nam Kyu Kim dissents from some of those propositions.  Note that since early 2015, Turkish growth rates have been in the four to six percent range, hardly miserable.

The rise of coup-proofing in Turkey?

Go to this link, and click on “Coup-proofing in Turkey.”  (Or try here.)  It is a recent 2006 account of what the Turkish government has tried to do to make the country coup-proof, by Gokhan Bacik and Sammas Salur.  They tried many institutional changes toward that end.  Here is one paragraph:

In terms of coup-proofing, the first issue is the military aspect. Gül is now the commander of the armed forces. First of all, any high level military appointment requires his consent. All major military appointments and promotions also require his official endorsement. Yet, the traditional alliance between the president and the army against the government was dissolved. In the past, the corridor between the army and the president worked so far as an instrument of influence over the political elites. The formula “army plus the president”, to remind six of the former presidents were generals, put the government into a restricted zone. Thus, by the fall of presidency, the officers lost a very important historical corridor that kept them legally in the political game. Now, putting aside a third costly option they should either obey the president or stop. Ironically, as a result of this situation, weekly meetings are scheduled between the prime minister and chief of staff as no routine tête-à-tête meeting ever took place before. The lack of such a regular meeting in the past was basically the army’s autonomous position. Gül’s presidency, a man out of the traditional Kemalist quota, weaken the traditional role of army vis a vis political elites.

It doesn’t seem it worked!  The paper nonetheless makes for interesting reading.  It talks about increasing power for the courts, changes to the intelligence services, increasing reliance on the police, and other attempted coup-proofing strategies in Turkey.  Note that in the past Turkish military coups have been relatively bloodless and swift; we’ll see if that is still the case.  If things do turn violent, which seems at least possible given what I am right now seeing on my TV screen, that suggests in some cases “coup-proofing” may be overrated.

The marriages of power couples reinforce economic inequality

That is my latest Upshot column for the NYT, here is an excerpt:

Of all the causes behind growing income inequality, in the longer run this development may prove one of the most significant and also one of the hardest to counter.

For instance, the achievement gap between children from rich and poor families is higher today than it was 25 years ago, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. Furthermore, higher income and educational inequality increase the incentive to seek out a good marriage match, so the process may become self-reinforcing.

…The numbers show that assortative mating really matters. One study indicated that if the marriage patterns of 1960 were imported into 2005, the Gini coefficient for the American economy — the standard measure of income inequality — would fall to 0.34 from 0.43, a considerable drop, given that the scale runs from zero to one…

A study of Denmark by Gustaf Bruze…showed that about half of the expected financial gain of attending college derived not from better job prospects but from the chance to meet and marry a higher-earning spouse.

…a recent paper by Robert D. Mare, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles, showed that assortative mating was relatively more common in America’s Gilded Age, fell and reached a much lower level in the 1950s, and afterward started and continued to rise.

The G.I. Bill may have helped lower assortative mating, because it gave opportunities for upward mobility to economic classes that had not enjoyed it. In general, the greater the number of men entering the middle class, the more socioeconomic mixing will occur.

In 1950 it was also the case that marriage ages were especially young, meaning that couples often paired off from high school and may have had less of a sense how to match to each other by expected income or education. And most women had fewer chances to earn very much, so few if any men were searching hard to find future law partners or doctors.

I would put it this way.  I frequently read the Sunday marriage pages of The New York Times, and I never feel that I am tearing myself away from social science research.

Do read the whole thing.

Dani Rodrik and the Sledgehammer coup plot

There is a lengthy and interesting Chronicle profile by Marc Parry.  It tells the tale of how Rodrik vindicated his father-in-law, a famous general, from false charges of having led a potential coup d’etat against the Turkish government.  Here is one excerpt:

When Rodrik and his wife spoke with Cetin Dogan, though, the general told them he’d never heard of Sledgehammer. They believed him. But that only deepened the mystery. Were the coup plans genuine? Had Dogan’s name somehow been added to them? Rodrik and Pinar Dogan began to investigate the coup documents, which eventually became the centerpiece of a landmark court case that targeted hundreds of military officers. Many called it Turkey’s “trial of the century.” The two economists called it a fraud.

As a social scientist, Rodrik had always believed in the power of evidence to change people’s minds. His Sledgehammer investigation revealed the coup plans to be forgeries. The evidence was clearer than anything he had ever encountered in economics. But it didn’t matter. People clung to the story regardless.

Rodrik has written his own essay on the Sledgehammer episode (pdf). Basically he and his wife ended up playing detective for several years of their lives, and eventually Rodrik’s father-in-law was freed from prison.  Here is a bit toward the end of the piece:

“It’s very easy to read these stories, and they resonate with your own worldview as a liberal,” Rodrik says. “And you’re likely to believe it. I wouldn’t say that it turned me into a conservative. But it made me much more skeptical and much more cautious about what one might say is the standard Northeastern-Ivy League-elite-liberal-establishment narrative about how the world works.”

My recent conversation with Dani Rodrik has both transcript and video.

*Odd Couple*

The author is Michael Huberman and the subtitle is International Trade and Labor Standards in History.  Here is the blurb from Leandro Prados de La Escosura:

In this path-breaking volume, Michael Huberman persuasively argues that the past informs the present.  Huberman shows that a historical perspective does not sustain the impossibility trilemma, the popular claim that democracy, national sovereignty and globalization are inherently incompatible.  Globalization and the emergence of the welfare state — which is at the roots of the modern democratic state — went hand-in-hand, increasing well-being and declining inequality over the long-run.

Should couples keep separate finances?

Megan Non-McArdle continues her transformation into a rational choice theorist:

While I can’t guess how
it will actually work out when I am faced with this in real life, I
like the idea of both partners putting two-thirds of each paycheck in a
joint account and reserving one-third to themselves.  ‘Cause why argue,
or even discuss, some personal purchases?  Buy it for yourself with your
own money, and look, no one cares!  It would also make gifts more
meaningful, if it came from your own hoard rather than shared money. 
And give you a reserve, if you are the cautious type.

Convexifying the choice set.  Who would expect that from a water engineer?  Money decisions do not have to be all-or-nothing.  Totally separate finances are undesirable, if only for symbolic reasons, but why not opt for a middle point? 

The key problem, in my view, is not overspending from a common pool of money.  Rather it is that couples use money as a medium for conducting ongoing fights, and thus the value of partially separate finances as a safety valve. 

The percentage of separate funds should rise with:

1. The age of the parties when married.  The two people might be very good together, but used to making their own money decisions.

2. The number of preceding marriages.

3. The two parties each earning decent or at least roughly comparable incomes. 

4. Small numbers of children or grown, out-of-college children.

5. Portfolio safety.  Portfolio riskiness should be borne jointly.

6. Inversely with the size of the mortgage and other fixed commitments.  The common fund should be spent on something which is not merely automatic.

Surely state property laws should matter, as should the strength of Kahneman-Tversky framing effects, but I haven’t quite figured out how.

Can you think of other relevant variables?

Advice on finding a talented spouse

From a reader:

Re your observation that most people don’t know what their strengths are and your interest in finding and fostering talent:

I haven’t done the two things I’ve recently come to think I’d have the greatest comparative advantage in – marry and stay married to a very talented male and raise very talented kids. As a 36-yr-old female with no potential mate at present, I’ve decided I need to be more intentional about this.

What are your thoughts on the best strategies to maximize my chances of success? How to approach dating sites- multiple with different types of profiles and levels of info; deep on just 1 or 2? Focus more on new sites/established sites/niche sites? Best questions/methods for weeding out and attracting potentials online- especially deeper cultural/moral/values questions? Seek out more in-person opportunities instead? What kind? Groups, orgs I should join? What should I be most/least picky about? Other considerations I’m likely over- or under- rating? I’m in the Dallas area, finishing up my PhD in [redacted], free to move most anywhere.

You haven’t set yourself up as an expert on this, but I know you’ll answer. Also open to suggestions of who else to ask for such advice.

This one is far outside my expertise, but I have a few comments:

1. Are you sure this is what you really want?  I don’t know you at all, but surely you are smart and skilled and so far it hasn’t happened.  (What is your theory of why not?  Maybe you wanted it less before, but keep in mind part of what men want is women who have really wanted this all along.)  That said, if you don’t really want this, I don’t see the harm in trying to make a match of the sort you indicate.  Your own intuitions will save you in time, conditional on you not really wanting this.

2. Use on-line dating.  I’ve seen a graph indicating a trend line marching straight upwards for how many matches, in percentage terms, come from on-line dating (might any of you know the link?  Here it is.).  That is very often how the trend line looks for a dominant trend that is still underrated.  On-line dating simply seems better than any other method, for the same reason you are reading this blog.

2b. I have no idea which services you should use, but since network effects in this market are strong, plenty of your same-age friends should know the right answers without much hesitation.

3. If you are considering doing more “in person” things, such as joining clubs and associations, do things you would wish to do anyway.  If you are doing those activities as part of your effort to be “intentional,” they are dominated by doing more on-line dating.  So just do what you want in this regard.

Other people to ask might be clergy?  Recently married same-age friends?  All the other econ bloggers?