This week at the Graduate Political Economy Seminar, we will have Francis Touola Meda, who will be presenting "Co-optation and Censorship in Authoritarian Regimes". See abstract below. The seminar is scheduled for 4pm in room 435. Food will be provided.
Please also see the seminar website for this semester's full schedule.
All the best,
Felipe and Giacomo
Title: Co-optation and Censorship in Authoritarian Regimes:
Author: Francis Touola Meda
Abstract: A common response from autocrats who face threats of overthrow, both at the hands of the masses and the elites, is to co-opt the potential opposition. Co-optation is meant, among other things, to prevent the elites from coordinating and aggregating the views of discontented people in order to stop them from protesting. Contrary to some assumptions, we argue that, co-optation does not always prevent or shut down mass protests. In fact, independent media or digital technologies can facilitate the dissemination of important information among protesters and mobilize them in the absence of the (co-opted) elites. Therefore, the extent to which autocrats prevent the diffusion of such information is important when dealing with co-optation. In this article, we use a formal model to show how autocrats' use of censorship and co-optation are related. The model makes several predictions. It shows that there is a strategic interaction between co-optation and censorship: Conditioned on a successful co-optation, censorship and co-optation are substitutes. The model also suggests that this relationship is stronger in most repressive authoritarian regimes. We illustrate these predictions with data about authoritarian regimes from 1993 to 2009.