Logo eprints

Collective Memories, Propaganda and Authoritarian Political Support

Belmonte, Alessandro and Rochlitz, Michael Collective Memories, Propaganda and Authoritarian Political Support. Working Paper National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) - Series Political Science - WP BRP 43/PS/2017 (Unpublished)

PDF - Submitted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (911kB) | Preview
Related URLs


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 benefit 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.

Item Type: Working Paper (Working Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: JEL Classification: D74, D83, P16, Z13. Keywords: collective memory, propaganda, political support, rebellion, private investment.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Research Area: Economics and Institutional Change
Depositing User: Alessandro Belmonte
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2018 14:21
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2018 14:21
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/3915

Actions (login required)

Edit Item Edit Item