Overthrowing the Dictator: A Game-Theoretic Approach to Revolutions and Media

34 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2013 Last revised: 12 Dec 2016

See all articles by Hubert Janos Kiss

Hubert Janos Kiss

Eötvös Loránd University; Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) - Institute of Economics CERS-HAS (IEHAS)

Ismael Rodriguez-Lara

University of Granada - Campus La Cartuja

Alfonso Rosa-Garcia

Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia

Date Written: December 1, 2016

Abstract

A distinctive feature of recent revolutions was the key role of social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). In this paper, we study its role in mobilization. We assume that social media allow potential participants to observe the individual participation decisions of others, while traditional mass media allow potential participants to see only the total number of people who participated before them. We show that when individuals’ willingness to revolt is publicly known, then both sorts of media foster a successful revolution. However, when willingness to revolt is private information, only social media ensure that a revolt succeeds, with mass media multiple outcomes are possible, one of which has individuals not participating in the revolt. This suggests that social media enhance the likelihood that a revolution triumphs more than traditional mass media.

Keywords: social media, mass media, revolution, coordination game, sequential games

JEL Classification: C72, D02, D74

Suggested Citation

Kiss, Hubert Janos and Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael and Rosa-Garcia, Alfonso, Overthrowing the Dictator: A Game-Theoretic Approach to Revolutions and Media (December 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2298662 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2298662

Hubert Janos Kiss (Contact Author)

Eötvös Loránd University ( email )

Pazmany Peter setany 1A
Budapest, -- H1117
Hungary

Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) - Institute of Economics CERS-HAS (IEHAS) ( email )

Budaorsi ut 45
Budapest, 1112
Hungary

Ismael Rodriguez-Lara

University of Granada - Campus La Cartuja ( email )

Campus La Cartuja
Granada
Spain

Alfonso Rosa-Garcia

Universidad Católica San Antonio de Murcia ( email )

Avenida Jerónimos, 135
Guadalupe
Murcia, 30107
Spain

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