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Can coups be democratic? Sometimes!

For many in the West, the apparent coup d'etat in Egypt today ignites mixed feelings. On one hand, Mohamed Morsi's regime seemed to be heading towards dictatorship and the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamist views are often antithetical to Western notions of democracy and human rights. But on the other, Morsi was fairly and democratically elected in Egypt's first election, and the back-to-back military interventions could set a dangerous precedent. Which raises the question: Can coups ever lead to democratic outcomes?

The answer, surprisingly, is yes, according to two academic studies that have looked at the subject. A recent paper, via the Monkey Cage, from Nikolay Marinov and Hein Goemans of Yale and the University of Rochester, respectively, found something surprising that happened to coups after the end of the Cold War:

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