in: International studies quarterly, Volume 64, Issue 1, p. 71-84
ISSN: 0020-8833 (print), 1468-2478 (electronic)
How does the passage of time contribute to the establishment of civilian control of the State? We argue that civilian dominance of politics is achieved once civilianized institutions are adopted and sufficient time has passed to permit: (1) the development of a shared norm of civilian control within the military and (2) learning among military elites that fosters a belief that civilian rule is robust to military challenges. As a result, civilian control is self-reinforcing. We evaluate these claims by developing and validating a latent variable model of self-reinforcing institutional dynamics. We generate estimates of civilian control for all countries, 1945–2010, and find strong evidence that civilian control self-reinforces, but incrementally and over the course of several decades.