Ruling the Ruling Coalition: Information Control and Authoritarian Power-Sharing
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, forthcoming
55 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2017 Last revised: 9 Mar 2022
Date Written: March 8, 2022
It is widely agreed that durable authoritarian rule requires power-sharing institutions. But how do autocrats rule under such institutions? We analyze formally how an autocrat distributes information inside the coalition to preserve and consolidate power while remaining constrained by the power-sharing agreement. Collective governing bodies like the parliament or the cabinet of ministers create a common information environment in which the leader faces a low risk of removal (by the regime's insiders or outsiders), but opportunities to consolidate power are rare. To incite divisions inside the coalition, the ruler introduces informational asymmetries inside the coalition, which opens up opportunities to consolidate power at the risk of losing it all. This implies a trade-off between the durability of power and its extent. Our model illuminates the variation in the authoritarian styles-of-rule and examines when rulers subdue power-sharing institutions despite their commonly-purported value.
Keywords: Autocracy, Information, Coordination, Information design
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