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Harmonic Analysis and Differential Equations Seminar

Event Type
Department of Mathematics
Altgeld Hall 143
Apr 2, 2024   1:00 pm  
Vakhtang Poutkaradze
Vadim Zharnitsky
Originating Calendar
Harmonic Analysis and Differential Equations Seminar (HADES)

 Title: The Dictator's Dilemma: The Distortion of Information Flow in Autocratic Regimes and Its Consequences

 Abstract: Humans have been arguing about the benefits of dictatorial versus democratic regimes for millennia. Despite drastic differences between the dictatorships in the world, one of the key common features is the Dictator's Dilemma  as defined by R. Wintrobe (2000): a dictator will never know the true state of affairs in his country and is perpetually presented distorted information, thus having difficulties in making the right governing decisions. The dictator's dilemma is essential to most autocratic regimes and is one of the key features in the literature on the subject. Yet, no quantitative theory of how the distortion of information develops from the initial state has been developed up to date. 

I present a model of the appearance and evolution of such information distortion, with subsequent degradation of control by the dictator. The model is based on the following fundamental and general premises: a) the dictator governs aiming to follow the desired trajectory of development based only on the information from the advisors; b) the deception from the advisors cannot decrease in time; and c) the deception change depends on the difficulties the country encounters. The model is based on the application of stochastic differential equations (SDEs) and shows effective control in the short term (a few months to a year), followed by instability leading to the country's gradual deterioration of the state over many years. I derive some universal parameters applicable to all dictators and show that advisors' deception increases parallel with the decline of the control. In contrast, the dictator thinks the government is doing a reasonable, but not perfect, job. Finally, I present a match of our model to the historical data of grain production in the Soviet Union in 1928-1940.  

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