Discussion paper

DP18903 Informational Autocrats, Diverse Societies

This paper presents a theoretical model of an autocrat who controls the media in an attempt to persuade society of his competence. We base our analysis on a Bayesian persuasion framework in which citizens have heterogeneous preferences and beliefs about the autocrat. We characterize the autocrat's information manipulation strategy when society is monolithic and when it is divided. When the preferences and beliefs in society are more diverse, the autocrat engages in less information manipulation. Our findings thus suggest that the diversity of attitudes and opinions can act as a bulwark against information manipulation by hostile actors.


Gitmez, A and P Molavi (2024), ‘DP18903 Informational Autocrats, Diverse Societies‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 18903. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp18903