Nov 9, 2012

Who Makes a Good Leader?

A new paper by Gächter et al., in the new number of Economic Inquiry (October 2012). A draft is here 
We examine the characteristics of effective leaders in a simple leader-follower voluntary contributions game. We focus on two factors: the individual's cooperativeness and the individual's beliefs about the cooperativeness of others. We find that groups perform best when led by those who are cooperatively inclined. Partly, this reflects a false consensus effect: cooperative leaders are more optimistic than noncooperators about the cooperativeness of followers. However, cooperative leaders contribute more than noncooperative leaders even after controlling for optimism. We conclude that differing leader contributions by differing types of leader in large part reflects social motivations.

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