September 8th, 2018


(no subject)

 ...The emergence of such softer, non-ideological autocracies was unexpected and so far lacks a systematic explanation. How do the new dictators survive without using the standard tools of 20th century authoritarians, and without the traditional legitimacy or religious sanction that supported historical monarchs, or even the revolutionary charisma of anti-colonial leaders? We suggest an answer. The key to such regimes, we argue, is the manipulation of information. Rather than terrorizing or indoctrinating the population, rulers survive by leading citizens to believe—rationally but incorrectly—that they are competent and benevolent. Having won popularity, dictators score points both at home and abroad by mimicking democracy. Violent repression, rather than helping, is counterproductive: it undercuts the image of able governance that leaders seek to cultivate...

Informational Autocrats
Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman Originally posted at