Ruling the Ruling Coalition: Information Control and Authoritarian Power-Sharing

58 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2017 Last revised: 22 May 2019

See all articles by Zhaotian Luo

Zhaotian Luo

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students

Arturas Rozenas

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: May 20, 2019

Abstract

It is widely agreed that durable authoritarian rule requires power-sharing institutions. But how do autocrats rule once such institution are established? We analyze formally how an autocrat distributes access to information inside his coalition to preserve and consolidate his power. We identify a fundamental trade-off between the durability and the extent of power. Collective governing bodies like the parliament or the cabinet of ministers create a common information environment in which the risk of an internal coup or an external uprising is small, but there are no opportunities to consolidate power. A ruler who faces a low risk of external uprising will forge informational asymmetries in order to divide his coalition and consolidate power, at the risk of losing it all. The model illuminates the varia- tion in the authoritarian styles-of-rule and explains why rulers try to subdue power-sharing institutions despite their commonly purported value.

Keywords: Autocracy, Information, Coordination, Ruling Coalition

Suggested Citation

Luo, Zhaotian and Rozenas, Arturas, Ruling the Ruling Coalition: Information Control and Authoritarian Power-Sharing (May 20, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2978254 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2978254

Zhaotian Luo

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Arturas Rozenas (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

19 West 4
New York, NY 10012
United States

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