Ulric B. and Evelyn L. Bray Social Sciences Seminar
Abstract: We study how different models of governance allow autocratic rulers to exert authority over their ruling coalitions. We draw a distinction between collective leadership, where information is shared publicly within the ruling circle due multi-lateral decision-making process, and hierarchical leadership, where information is compartmentalized and decisions are made via bilateral consultations between the ruler and individual members of his coalition. The model of collective leadership emerges when the ruler's primary objective is to exert full compliance from his coalition. However, when the ruler is also interested in either purging disloyal members of the coalition or in deterring future acts of defiance against his authority, he implements the model of hierarchical leadership. Under this model, uncoordinated factional attacks against the ruler's authority are more common, which helps the ruler to eliminate disloyal members of his coalition, but also increases political instability.