We show that when citizens are uncertain about whether a successful revolution will turn out better than the status quo, communication between citizens reduces the likelihood of successful revolution when the status quo is sufficiently bad. A bad regime faces a tradeoff: communication helps citizens to coordinate, facilitating revolution; but it also facilitates the dissemination of any negative information about the alternative to the status quo, forestalling revolution. When the regime is sufficiently bad, this latter effect dominates. This result contrasts with the literature that assumes that each citizen knows that he wants to change the regime, but he is uncertain about whether enough citizens will revolt. In such settings, communication always raises the likelihood of successful revolution.
- Media freedom
- Regime change
- Social media
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations