Comparing Independence Referendums: Why Do Some States Accept Them while Others Do Not?

Enrique Sánchez Sánchez, Jean-Baptiste Harguindéguy*, Almudena Sánchez Sánchez, Alistair Cole

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article aims to explain why some central governments accept to hold independence referendums while others refuse to do so. For this purpose, this investigation assesses a series of seven hypotheses on 131 international cases of secession consultations from 1944 to 2021 extracted from an updated version of the Contested sovereignty dataset. The results of the logistic regression model identify four relevant variables. In the first place, the competition/proximity model and the time variable explain the support brought by central governments for the organisation of self-determination referendums. Additionally, the study shows that the quality of democracy influences the decision to allow minorities to hold independence consultations. Finally, and with a lower level of significance, it is also argued that periods of previous violence incite host state authorities to agree to hold self-determination referendums.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1868-1891
Number of pages24
Issue number5
Early online date7 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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