Ruling the Ruling Coalition: Information Control and Authoritarian Power-Sharing
58 Pages Posted: 2 Jun 2017 Last revised: 22 May 2019
Date Written: May 20, 2019
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
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