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and non-military coup attempts in the world since 1946 through a comprehensive review of related prior datasets, historical documents and secondary literature. 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).

Data Introduction Paper: A journal article introducing the data, “The Varieties of Coups D'etat: Introducing the Colpus Dataset,” has recently been published at International Studies Quarterly. Full replication data accompanies the online article. Associated documentation is linked below.

Codebook: This document (1) outlines our definition of coup d'état events and (2) details our coding rules for distinguishing between coup and non-coup events and between different types of coups.

Colpus Regime Data: This document summarizes the updated regime data for 1946-2019 underlying the Colpus dataset. The dataset is compatible with the autocratic regimes data of Geddes, Wright, & Frantz.

Colpus Regime Leader Data: This document summarizes the updated regime leader data for 1946-2019 underlying the Colpus dataset.

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

Summary Figures: This document 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 1,172 candidate coup events are documented in a series five documents of over 1,900 pages, including over 5,800 citations. The documents are organized by "home region", as defined by the Correlates of War (COW) project.

Related Publications:

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.

John J. Chin. "A ‘good coup’ in Africa? Mali’s Latest Military Coup in Perspective." CIRP Journal (online). October 5, 2020.

See the accompanying appendix of historical narratives of Colpus coup events in Mali here.

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 the accompanying appendix of historical narratives of Colpus coup events in the United States here.

Related Media Mentions:

David Nakamura. "With brazen assault on election, Trump prompts critics to warn of a coup." Washington Post, January 5, 2021.

Kaity Kline. "Are We Living Through a Coup? Or Something Else?" NPR 1A (National Public Radio). December 9, 2020.

Nicole Narea. "3 scholars say Trump isn't staging a coup-but he still poses a threat to democracy." Vox. November 14, 2020.

Nick Turse. "Tantrum and Theater: Trump's Desperation after Election Loss Isn't Yet a Coup." The Intercept. November 13, 2020.

"Statskupper [Coups]." P3 Dystopia Podcast, Sveriges Radio (Swedish Public Radio), September 30, 2020.


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.