Intra-elite Conflict and Information Disclosure
Abstract: Autocracies vary widely in transparency of information disclosure to political elites. To account for the variations, I present a model of internal information disclosure that emphasizes an autocrat's political survival problem. To persuade the elites to support her rule, the autocrat strategically designs an internal information system. The bureaucratic structure of the internal information gathering system implements a desirable form of information disclosure. A higher quality bureaucracy implements a more transparent information disclosure. I characterize the optimal information disclosure in autocracies with coherent elite groups and that in autocracies where the elite splits into factions. I show that whether an autocracy with elite division has a higher bureaucratic quality and hence a more transparent information disclosure depends on aspects of the intra-elite division. When the autocrat's faction (the ruling faction) faces intense competition from the opposition faction, she is more likely to adopt an information system with a high bureaucratic quality and a high level of transparency. Meanwhile, when the ruling faction's political entrenchment depends on the survival of the incumbent, she is less likely to adopt an information system with a high bureaucratic quality and a high level of transparency. Further, there is a non-monotonic relationship between the degree of the inter-factional conflict and bureaucratic quality (transparency). As conflict increases, bureaucratic capacity (transparency) increases up to a threshold. Beyond this threshold, increased conflict is associated with reduced bureaucratic capacity (transparency).