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Working paper

Transparency and Repression: An Explanation for the Democratic Civil Peace

Hassanpour N.
In the face of popular opposition, democracies often exert lower levels of repression compared to autocracies. For such a democratic civil peace this paper provides an explanation based on transparency. When the opposition see the level of repression they expect, atrocities are limited and the military does not engage in reprisals. In contrast, when reality diverges from expectations, there will be violent retributions against civilians. Using a tripartite stylization, I account for higher levels of violence in newly established democracies and examine the conditions under which the military's decision to intervene can diverge from the incumbent's order. I use statistics of missing data entries from reports on military expenditure as a measure of transparency and confirm its negative relation with political violence.