Media freedom, bureaucratic incentives, and the resource curse

S. Guriev, G. Egorov, K. Sonin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


How can a non-democratic ruler provide proper incentives for state bureaucracy? In the absence of competitive elections and separation of powers, the ruler has to gather information either from a centralized agency such as a secret service or a decentralized source such as media. The danger of using a secret service is that it can collude with bureaucrats; overcoming collusion is costly. Free media aggregate information and thus constrain bureaucrats, but might also help citizens to coordinate on actions against the incumbent. We endogenize the ruler’s choice in a dynamic model to argue that free media are less likely to emerge in resource-rich economies, where the ruler is less interested in providing incentives to his subordinates. We show that this prediction is consistent with both cross-section and panel data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4-24
Number of pages21
JournalVoprosy Ekonomiki
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bureaucracy
  • Media freedom
  • Non-democratic politics
  • Resource curse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


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