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Leadership: A Personnel Economics Approach

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  • Edward P. Lazear

Abstract

A theory of leadership is proposed and tested. Leaders are characterized as those who have the ability to choose the right direction more frequently than their peers. The theory implies that leaders tend to be more able, place themselves in visible decision making situations more frequently, and are generalists. Also, the most able leaders should be found in the highest variance industries, where decision making has the greatest payoff. The theory is tested using data on Stanford business school alumni and is confirmed. Leaders are generalists rather than specialists, both innately and in their pattern of skill acquisition.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15918.

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Date of creation: Apr 2010
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Publication status: published as “Leadership: A Personnel Economics Approach,” Labour Economics. Volume 19, Issue 1, January 2012, Pages 92-101
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15918

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Cited by:
  1. Dora Costa, 2011. "Leaders: Privilege, Sacrifice, Opportunity and Personnel Economics in the American Civil War," NBER Working Papers 17382, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kvaløy, Ola & Schöttner, Anja, 2012. "Incentives to Motivate," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012/15, University of Stavanger.
  3. Manoj Atolia & Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2014. "Fixed Costs, Task Variety, and Skill Flexibility: A Simple Unified Theory of Below and Within-top Inequality," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba 2014-001, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
  4. Kim, Jaesoo, 2012. "Endogenous leadership in incentive contracts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 256-266.

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