A Theory of State Censorship
University of Miami - School of Business Administration - Department of Economics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics
March 21, 2012
We characterize a ruler's decision of whether to censor media reports that convey public information to citizens who decide whether to revolt. We find: (1) a ruler gains (his ex ante expected payoff increases) by committing to censoring slightly less than he does in equilibrium: his equilibrium calculations ignore that censoring less causes citizens to update more positively following no news; (2) a ruler gains from higher censorship costs if and only if censorship costs exceed a critical threshold; (3) a bad ruler prefers a very active media to a very passive one, while a good ruler prefers the opposite.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 29
Keywords: Censorship, Media Freedom, Public Signal, Information Manipulation, Protest, Revolution, Regime Changeworking papers series
Date posted: July 19, 2012 ; Last revised: July 20, 2012
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