Autocratic tensions, cronyism, and the opacity of business information: party newspapers and circulation figures during the Francoist dictatorship (1939-1975) Articles uri icon

publication date

  • January 2017

start page

  • 80

end page

  • 95


  • 1


  • 26

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0962-8770

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-8608


  • Autocracies draw their political power from cronyism and organized repression. The opacity of business information (economic censorship) protects these regimes and their crony firms from any opposition. However, autocracies might also desire to eliminate cronyism (and therefore opacity) because it dampens economic growth. Autocracies survive through repression that engenders tensions, as evident in the Spanish newspaper industry during the Francoist dictatorship. State control over this industry was important because the press disseminated news to the public. From 1939 to 1957, the autocracy institutionalized both cronyism and the opacity of circulation figures to sustain the political powers of Franco and the single party state. Opacity concealed the economic performance of newspapers owned by sole legal party and any distribution of resources in its favor. Franco authorized voluntary disclosure of reliable circulation figures in 1964, after eliminating cronyism in favor of a freer market. Repression guaranteed support for this industry until Franco's death.


  • corporate transparency; political connections; corruption; organizations; performance; ethics; rationality; disclosure; dynamics; regime