The Geography of Repression and Support for Democracy

68 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2019 Last revised: 27 Apr 2020

See all articles by Maria Angelica Bautista

Maria Angelica Bautista

University of Chicago

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics

Luis R. Martinez

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Pablo Munoz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics

Mounu Prem

Universidad del Rosario

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 24, 2020

Abstract

State repression is a prominent feature of non-democracies, but its effectiveness in quieting dissent and fostering regime survival remains unclear. We exploit the location of military bases before the coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power in Chile in 1973, which is uncorrelated to pre-coup electoral outcomes, and show that counties near these bases experienced more killings and forced disappearances at the hands of the government during the dictatorship. Our main result is that residents of counties close to military bases both registered to vote and voted “No” to Pinochet’s continuation in power at higher rates in the crucial 1988 plebiscite that bolstered the democratic transition. Potential mechanisms include informational frictions on the intensity of repression in counties far from bases and shifts in preferences caused by increased proximity to the events. Election outcomes after democratization show no lasting change in political preferences.

Keywords: Dictatorship, Repression, Democratization, Military, Pinochet, Chile

JEL Classification: D72, N46

Suggested Citation

Bautista, Maria Angelica and González, Felipe and Martinez, Luis and Munoz, Pablo and Prem, Mounu, The Geography of Repression and Support for Democracy (April 24, 2020). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2019-105, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3435816 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3435816

Maria Angelica Bautista

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Felipe González

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile - Institute of Economics ( email )

Casilla 76
Correo 17
Santiago
Chile

Luis Martinez (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Pablo Munoz

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

579 Evans Hall
Berkeley, CA 94709
United States

Mounu Prem

Universidad del Rosario ( email )

Casa Pedro Fermín
Calle 14 # 4-69
Bogota
Colombia

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