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

See all articles by Zhaotian Luo

Zhaotian Luo

University of Chicago, Department of Political Science

Arturas Rozenas

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

Date Written: March 8, 2022

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Luo, Zhaotian and Rozenas, Arturas, Ruling the Ruling Coalition: Information Control and Authoritarian Power-Sharing (March 8, 2022). Quarterly Journal of Political Science, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2978254 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2978254

Zhaotian Luo

University of Chicago, Department of Political Science ( email )

5825 S University Ave
Chicago, IL 60637
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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