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Journal Articles Journal of Economic Perspectives Year : 2019

Informational Autocrats

Abstract

In recent decades, dictatorships based on mass repression have largely given way to a new model based on the manipulation of information. Instead of terrorizing citizens into submission, “informational autocrats” artificially boost their popularity by convincing the public they are competent. To do so, they use propaganda and silence informed members of the elite by co-optation or censorship. Using several sources, including a newly created dataset on authoritarian control techniques, we document a range of trends in recent autocracies consistent with this new model: a decline in violence, efforts to conceal state repression, rejection of official ideologies, imitation of democracy, a perceptions gap between the masses and the elite, and the adoption by leaders of a rhetoric of performance rather than one aimed at inspiring fear.
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hal-03878640 , version 1 (29-11-2022)

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Sergei Guriev, Daniel Treisman. Informational Autocrats. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2019, 33 (4), pp.100-127. ⟨10.1257/jep.33.4.100⟩. ⟨hal-03878640⟩
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