This paper is devoted to the explanation of selected bureaus’ behavior patterns in the soviet type of totalitarian dictatorships with the command economic model. It is a proven fact that the plan figures in the soviet economy were fabricated as a consequence of intrigues and secret negotiations between different interested parties. Generally, bureaus, as rational agents that minimize risk and maximize slack, should have been interested in reducing the plan figures, nevertheless, they strived to increase them. As examples, mass repression under dictatorships and overexpenditure of an administrative leverage at elections in non-democratic and quasi-democratic countries can be observed. In the article we develop a simple model of coordination between principal (dictator) and his agents (bureaus), which explain the mentioned paradoxical situation.
We consider a model of an on-line software market, where an intermediary distributes products from sellers to buyers. When products of sellers are vertically differentiated, an intermediary, earning a proportion of sales, has an incentive to hide the worse product on the second page, and only keep the better product on the front page: that weakens the competition, allowing the seller with the better product to charge a higher price. With heterogeneous visiting costs to the second page, the platform's revenue might improve, but the outcome will become socially suboptimal.
The paper investigates the influence of outside options on the predatory behavior of autocrats. An outside option is referred to as the opportunity of an incumbent ruler to continue his career outside his current territory of control. The paper uses data on the effectiveness of tax collection and the repressiveness of tax jurisprudence for Russian regions in 2007-2009 and finds that regions ruled by governors with substantial outside options are characterized by more repressive behavior of tax authorities. However, surprisingly, the same tax authorities collect less additional revenues for the public budget. It conjectures that the presence of an outside option induces autocrats to behave like ‘roving bandits’: they use tax audits to establish control over regional companies, but exploit this control to extract private rents rather than revenues for the regional budget used for public goods provision.