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Collective Memories, Propaganda and Authoritarian Political Support

Author

Listed:
  • Alessandro Belmonte

    () (IMT Alti Studi Lucca)

  • Michael Rochlitz

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

Abstract

To what extent does the degree of authoritarian political support depend on collective memories of a past experience with democracy? And how costly is it for a dictator to manipulate such memories with the help of propaganda? In this paper, we develop a political economy model with endogenous reference points, where a dictator strategically recalls traumatic collective memories of past political instability with the help of propaganda, to convince the population that an autocratic status quo is superior to a potential democratic alternative. In our model, both the optimal level of propaganda and collective memories are jointly determined. We show how the marginal bene t of propaganda is positively correlated both with the amount of rent distribution within the elite, and the intensity of a past traumatic experience with democracy. We illustrate our theoretical findings with case-studies of two authoritarian regimes that were preceded by periods of political instability|the Russian Federation under Vladimir Putin, and Chile under Augusto Pinochet. We then also provide cross-country empirical evidence in support of our argument.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandro Belmonte & Michael Rochlitz, 2017. "Collective Memories, Propaganda and Authoritarian Political Support," HSE Working papers WP BRP 43/PS/2017, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:43/ps/2017
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    collective memory; propaganda; political support; rebellion; private investment;

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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