I’ll Be Back? Exiled Leaders and Political Instability



Exile is often considered a useful political solution that can coax violent or unpopular leaders out of power. But these “golden parachutes” may come with a price. Specifically, do exiled leaders increase instability back in their home countries? In this paper, we outline the mechanisms through which exiled rulers can destabilize their home state’s politics and ultimately increase conflict. We present two types of evidence to support the argument. The first is a cross-national analysis that uses our original Leaders in Exile dataset to examine how exiled leaders shape the likelihood of civil conflicts, coups, and protests. The second is a cross-leader analysis designed to minimize inferential concerns by comparing cases where leaders escape into exile with cases where leaders are killed. In both tests, we find that exiled leaders are linked to political instability in their home countries.
Date made available2022
PublisherSAGE Journals

Cite this