In this paper, we study the evolution of accountability in autocracies and the consequent progressive economic and political mismanagement in terms of information changes. The starting point of our approach is that political leaders often have private incentives to pursue socially wasteful but privately useful projects. Usually, weak accountability mechanisms allow autocratic leaders to realize such projects easily. It is often held to be true that better information means greater accountability and consequently better government. On the contrary, we show that in dictatorships, paradoxically, better information might imply worse choices by a dictator. The basic idea here is that the reputation mechanism underlying accountability only works if there is enough noise surrounding the dictator’s possible type; otherwise there is no incentive for the dictator to mimic good leaders. Our results help to explain why history provides many examples of dictators who significantly worsened their behavior over time. As the selectorate’s information about the dictator’s actual type increases over time, the incentives for the dictator to behave correctly vanish

Gilli, M., & Li, Y. (2019). Selectorate's Information and Dictator's Accountability. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND PEACE SCIENCE [10.1177/0738894219883994].

Selectorate's Information and Dictator's Accountability

Gilli, M;
2019

Abstract

In this paper, we study the evolution of accountability in autocracies and the consequent progressive economic and political mismanagement in terms of information changes. The starting point of our approach is that political leaders often have private incentives to pursue socially wasteful but privately useful projects. Usually, weak accountability mechanisms allow autocratic leaders to realize such projects easily. It is often held to be true that better information means greater accountability and consequently better government. On the contrary, we show that in dictatorships, paradoxically, better information might imply worse choices by a dictator. The basic idea here is that the reputation mechanism underlying accountability only works if there is enough noise surrounding the dictator’s possible type; otherwise there is no incentive for the dictator to mimic good leaders. Our results help to explain why history provides many examples of dictators who significantly worsened their behavior over time. As the selectorate’s information about the dictator’s actual type increases over time, the incentives for the dictator to behave correctly vanish
Articolo in rivista - Articolo scientifico
Scientifica
Autocracy, Dictator, Accountability, Information
English
Article first published online: December 3, 2019
Gilli, M., & Li, Y. (2019). Selectorate's Information and Dictator's Accountability. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AND PEACE SCIENCE [10.1177/0738894219883994].
Gilli, M; Li, Y
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10281/244890
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