How Does Kompromat Affect Politics? A Model of Transparency Regimes

48 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020 Last revised: 20 Jul 2020

See all articles by Monika Nalepa

Monika Nalepa

The University of Chicago

Konstantin Sonin

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy; Higher School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Date Written: July 17, 2020

Abstract

Why are transparency regimes so rare? When some politicians have something to conceal, why would their opponents not press for transparency? To analyze transitional justice, we build a model that explains why uncompromised politicians might avoid a transparency regime, which could signal to the voters that they are clean. We model the interaction between an incumbent, an opposition leader, a strategic blackmailer, and voters who know that the opposition politician may be compromised. The incumbent can implement a transparency regime, which would force out a compromised opponent and thus make blackmail impossible. We show that, instead, she might strategically opt for no transparency that keeps all skeletons of the ancien regime in the closet, as it is easier to defeat a potentially compromised opponent. We corroborate our results using original data from the Global Transitional Justice Dataset combined with data on elections, incumbency, and successor autocrat status in post-communist Europe.

Keywords: transitional justice, transparency regime, blackmail, signaling

JEL Classification: P26, D83

Suggested Citation

Nalepa, Monika and Sonin, Konstantin, How Does Kompromat Affect Politics? A Model of Transparency Regimes (July 17, 2020). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2020-29, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3564696 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3564696

Monika Nalepa

The University of Chicago ( email )

517 Pick Hall
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Konstantin Sonin (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Higher School of Economics ( email )

20 Myasnitskaya street
Moscow, 119017
Russia

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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