Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Economics & Finance

First Advisor

Cullen Goenner


The relationship between the military and political instability is often measured qualitatively, with emphasis on country specific cases. This paper differs from other papers on two fronts. First, the measurement of political instability as a combination of state failure and political violence allows for a more in-depth analysis than would be available if instability was examined as the onset of only one event. Second, by using panel data and maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) techniques, this paper is able to make general conclusions about the effect of the military on instability. The findings of this paper show that the various military characteristics are significant in determining the probability of instability, with the most important characteristic being previous military rule.