Accountability in Autocracies with Multidimensional Policies

Mario Gilli (University of Milan-Bicocca)
Yuan Li (University of Duisburg-Essen)

Abstract: Any political leader, even an autocrat, must be judged by her supporters and by the citizens. Autocratic regimes control the diffusion of information through the country so that the effects of some policies are more opaque thus difficult to be evaluated. This paper looks at the effect of multidimensional policies on the functioning of autocracies. Our main objective in this paper is to study the effects of these differences in public perception on the dictator's accountability towards the selectorate and the citizens. First, we generalize the available results on accountability in autocratic polities, showing that the region of the selectorate's de facto power such that reciprocal accountability works shrinks as opacity increases. Second, we show that both the probability of full efficient and full inefficient policies decrease as opacity increases. Third, we find the dictator and the selectorate might have a conflict on the optimal amount of transparency. Finally, we find that the size of the parameters’ regions where a dictator implements efficient policies change non-monotonically with respect to opacity.