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Information Manipulation, Coordination, and Regime Change

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  • Chris Edmond

Abstract

This paper presents a model of information and political regime change. If enough citizens act against a regime, it is overthrown. Citizens are imperfectly informed about how hard this will be and the regime can, at a cost, engage in propaganda so that at face-value it seems hard. This coordination game with endogenous information manipulation has a unique equilibrium and the paper gives a complete analytic characterization of its comparative statics. If the quantity of information available to citizens is suciently high, then the regime has a better chance of surviving. However, an increase in the reliability of information can reduce the regime's chances. These two effects are always in tension: a regime benefits from an increase in information quantity if and only if an increase in information reliability reduces its chances. The model allows for two kinds of information revolutions. In the first, associated with radio and mass newspapers under the totalitarian regimes of the early twentieth century, an increase in information quantity coincides with a shift towards media institutions more accommodative of the regime and, in this sense, a decrease in information reliability. In this case, both effects help the regime. In the second kind, associated with diffuse technologies like modern social media, an increase in information quantity coincides with a shift towards sources of information less accommodative of the regime and an increase in information reliability. This makes the quantity and reliability effects work against each other. The model predicts that a given percentage increase in information reliability has exactly twice as large an effect on the regime's chances as the same percentage increase in information quantity, so, overall, an information revolution that leads to roughly equal-sized percentage increases in both these characteristics will reduce a regime's chances of surviving.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The University of Melbourne in its series Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number 1125.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mlb:wpaper:1125

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Keywords: global games; hidden actions; signal-jamming; propaganda; bias; media;

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References

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2008. "Coalition Formation in Non-Democracies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 987-1009.
  2. Ivan Werning & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Crises and Prices: Information Aggregation, Multiplicity and Volatility," 2005 Meeting Papers 284, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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Cited by:
  1. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2012. "Selection-Free Predictions in Global Games with Endogenous Information and Multiple Equilibria," Discussion Papers 1570, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Chong Huang, 2011. "Defending Against Speculative Attacks: Reputation, Learning, and Coordination," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-039, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  3. Roland Hodler & Simon Loertscher & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Biased experts, costly lies, and binary decisions," IEW - Working Papers 496, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  4. Jakub Steiner & Colin Stewart, 2010. "Influential Opinion Leaders," Working Papers tecipa-403, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  5. Kemal K?vanc Akoz & Cemal Eren Arbatli, 2013. "Manipulated voters in competitive election campaigns," HSE Working papers WP BRP 31/EC/2013, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  6. Laura Veldkamp & Christian Hellwig, 2006. "Knowing What Others Know: Coordination Motives in Information Acquisition," Working Papers 06-14, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
  7. Junnosuke Shino, 2010. "Lender of Last Resort Policy in a Global Game and the Role of Depositorsf Aggregate Behavior as Signaling," Departmental Working Papers 201007, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  8. Rossella Argenziano & Itzhak Gilboa, 2012. "History as a coordination device," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 73(4), pages 501-512, October.
  9. Yang Lu & Wing Suen & Heng Chen, 2013. "The Power of Whispers: A Theory of Rumor, Communication and Revolution," 2013 Meeting Papers 411, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  10. Paul Maarek & Michael Dorsch & Karl Dunz, 2012. "Macro Shocks, Regulatory Quality and Costly Political Action," THEMA Working Papers 2012-41, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  11. George-Marios Angeletos & Alessandro Pavan, 2007. "Dynamic Global Games of Regime Change: Learning, Multiplicity and Timing of Attacks," Discussion Papers 1497, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. David P. Myatt & Torun Dewan, 2007. "The Qualities of Leadership: Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation," Economics Series Working Papers 311, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  13. Torija, P., 2013. "Do Politicians Serve the One Percent? Evidence in OECD Countries," CITYPERC Working Paper Series 2013-04, Department of International Politics, City University London.
  14. Chong Huang, 2011. "Coordination and Social Learning," PIER Working Paper Archive 11-021, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  15. Ahnert, Toni & Bertsch, Christoph, 2013. "A wake-up call: information contagion and strategic uncertainty," Working Paper Series 282, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden), revised 01 Mar 2014.

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