Colpus Dataset

The Colpus Dataset, with David B. Carter & Joseph G. Wright

Description: This dataset identifies all military and non-military coup attempts in the world since 1946 through a comprehensive document and literature review. It also provides data on the identity of coup leaders and codes whether the coup leaders sought or achieved “regime change” (coups de regime) or “leader reshuffling” (coups de chef). The dataset is compatible with the autocratic regimes data of Geddes, Wright, & Frantz.

Codebook: This document (1) outlines our definition of coup d'état events, (2) details our coding rules for distinguishing between coup and non-coup events and between different types of coups, and (3) summarizes the updated regime and leader data underlying the Colpus dataset.

Data Introduction Paper: A journal article introducing the data, “Coups de regime or Coups de chef? Introducing the Colpus Dataset,” is currently under review. Upon acceptance, we will release all of the data and associated documentation.

Summary Tables: A separate appendix includes a series of summary tables, including a comparison of Colpus data with candidate datasets and our main coup lists.

Summary Figures: A separate appendix includes a series of summary figures that describe trends in the data at different levels of analysis: temporal, geographic, etc.

Coup Event Narratives: Historical case summaries and coding justifications for 1,159 candidate coup events are documented in a separate appendix of over 1,880 pages, including over 5,400 citations and a 240 page bibliography. The front matter and bibliography for this appendix is available here.

Historical Dictionary: Abbreviated and revised coup narratives as well as other biographical information on major coup leaders and regime leaders identified by the Colpus dataset since 1946 are also included in an accompanying Historical Dictionary of Modern Coups D’état that is being published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Related Publications:

John J. Chin. "When are coups fake news?" Political Violence at a Glance. June 16, 2020.

John J. Chin, Joseph G. Wright, and David B. Carter. "Could a Coup D'etat Happen in the United States in 2020?" Political Violence at a Glance. June 2, 2020.

John J. Chin. "Five myths about coups." The Washington Post (Outlook section). May 8, 2020.

John J. Chin, David B. Carter, and Joseph G. Wright. "No, the Trump impeachment inquiry is not a coup." The Washington Post (The Monkey Cage blog) . October 15, 2019. See our appendix for historical narratives and our coding of the cases mentioned in that piece.

The Colpus Ethnicity Dataset

Description: This dataset is an extension of the Colpus dataset. It provides data on:

  • The ethnic identity and military rank of all coup leaders since 1946;

  • The presence or absence of ethnic grievance for all coup attempts;

  • Whether or not the coup attempt led to a change in ethnic power relations.

Coming Soon.

The Colpus Force and Bloodshed Dataset

Description: This dataset is an extension of the Colpus dataset. It provides data on:

  • Whether or not coup attempts since 1946 involved (1) the threat of force, (2) troop movements, and/or (3) the use of force (e.g. shots fired).

  • Estimate of fatalities and civil war violence for all coup attempts.

  • The location (capital city; outside capital city; both) of all coup attempts

Coming Soon.

The Colpus Mass Mobilization Dataset

Description: This dataset is an extension of the Colpus dataset. It provides data on:

  • Pro-coup and anti-coup mass mobilization during all coup attempts since 1946

  • Characteristics (e.g. scale, tactics) of anti-coup mass mobilization within seven days of the onset or success of coups.

Coming Soon.