Unmasking the enemies: A theory of denunciations (joint with Tinghua Yu, Birbeck University)Stephane Wolton
2 February 2023
Stephane Wolton (LSE), 17:15 - 18:45, presents his project in the Interdisciplinary Research Seminar of the GRK "Collective Decision-Making”.
This seminar will take place in person. Please register (if you haven’t already) here if you want to attend the seminar. We invite everyone interested to attend!
Location: Room 0079, Von-Melle-Park 5
Denunciations are prevalent in authoritarian regimes. Citizens turn against each other to report suspicious behavior to the police state. Autocratic regimes have many ways to encourage denunciations. They could provide moral benefits or monetary reward. They can vary the amount they offer for successful tips. We study a formal model to study the consequences of these different choices. How do these different reward schemes affect the number of denunciations the authorities receive? How do they affect the informativeness of the denunciations? We show that while the number of denunciations increases with the size of the reward the regime offers, the informativeness is not necessarily monotonic in the amount of material benefits. When citizens have good information on each other, a scheme with large reward maximizes both the number of denunciations and their informativeness.