Why are ethnic minority leaders in Africa less likely to experience successful coups despite being equally likely to experience coups as plurality leaders? Manda argues that in trading off increased coup survival for increased civil war risk, ethnic minority Presidents in Africa are constrained by their ethnicity’s relatively smaller size causing them to be more likely to appoint their co-ethnics to cabinet positions. However, Manda argues that this co-ethnic favoritism will be relatively smaller among top cabinet positions (agriculture, finance, and defense) because these appointments are more visible to elites and the public and thus a minority leader would not want to be seen as favoring their co-ethnics while appointing co-ethnics to other, non-top cabinet positions to ensure there are some allies in cabinet when a coup is attempted. Using data from Fearon et al. (2007), Powell and Thyne (2011), and Francois et al. (2015) and running OLS regressions as well as a Wald test of equality of means of co-ethnic favoritism in cabinet positions, Manda confirms that minority Presidents in Africa do favor co-ethnics in cabinet positions but that this favoritism is smaller in magnitude among the top cabinet positions. Minority Presidents in Africa appoint co-ethnics in the cabinet serves for information gathering of potential coups but also to mobilize support in the event of a coup such that the leader’s winning coalition is robust enough to allow her to survive coup attempts. Results are robust to controlling for a battery of covariates; country fixed effects; outlier analyses; multiple comparison bias; and Oster (2019)’s method on using information on the selection on observables to make predictions on how much unobservables would have to matter to attenuate the effect.

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