Public event

Data Science Brown Bag Series: Making Career in Dictatorship

Join us for a talk by Christian Gläßel on exploring loyalty and disloyalty within authoritarian regimes, focusing on the security apparatus.

Abstract from speaker: 

Who loyally carries out the dictator’s dirty work? And which individuals actively conspire against the leader? To explain such extreme behavior, this book investigates the inner workings of the authoritarian security apparatus and the career prospects of individual officers. Our unified theory explains participation in repression (extreme loyalty) and coups (extreme disloyalty) by focusing on organizational promotion systems and the resulting career pressures of those at the losing end. We argue that officers who are disadvantaged in their professional advancement have an incentive to either demonstrate loyalty towards the current leadership by executing repressive orders or recommend themselves to a successor leader by participating in a coup. Using original individual-level career data on all 14,700 army officers in Argentina, we analyze biographic differences between individual henchmen, coup plotters, and all other members of the officer corps. We find that officers stuck within the organizational hierarchy and threatened with forced retirement were more likely than their more competitive colleagues to either force their way up in a coup attempt or detour to repressive units in the hope of salvaging their careers. Our findings have implications for understanding unorthodox career trajectories, bureaucratic sabotage, and organizational stability.

Bring your own lunch bag! Light pastries and drinks will be available in case you forget to bring it. 

The Data Science Brown Bag Series is an informal and interactive gathering where participants bring their own brown bag lunch and engage in discussions on research and insights the field of data and computational social science (light pastries and drinks will be available if you forget your lunch bag!). 

The series provides a platform for data enthusiasts, researchers, and practitioners to share their experiences, best practices, and emerging methodologies and research in using data science to analyze and understand social and political phenomena. The brown bag talk series is for anyone interested in data science and social science to network, learn, and share ideas in a casual and friendly setting.

Contact person

  • William Lowe, Senior Research Scientist
  • Huy Ngoc Dang, Manager of Data Science Lab & Programme Coordinator of Master of Data Science for Public Policy