Rivals within: Political factions, loyalty, and elite competition under authoritarianism

Ting CHEN, Ji Yeon Hong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Loyalty is a permanent concern to dictators. It is unclear, however, whether loyalty to a dictator assures the ruling group's cohesiveness. This study shows that authoritarian political elites under promotion pressure, while remaining loyal to their superior, also compete within factions to outrival their peers. Exploiting data on Chinese provincial leaders and local media reports on corruption investigations and industrial accidents (2000-2014), we find that Chinese elites promote negative news related to their co-faction peers as frequently as - or, depending on the measure, even more often than - they promote similar news regarding members of other factions. We also find that negative reports indeed reduce the promotion probability of reported cadres, while increasing that of reporting ones.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Science Research and Methods
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • authoritarianism
  • China
  • elite competition
  • Factions
  • media


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