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Leadership, cheap talk and really cheap talk

Author

Listed:
  • Levy, David M.
  • Padgitt, Kail
  • Peart, Sandra J.
  • Houser, Daniel
  • Xiao, Erte

Abstract

Previous research offers compelling evidence that leaders suffice to effect efficiency-enhancements on cooperation, yet the source of this effect remains unclear. To investigate whether leadership effects can be attributed exclusively to the common information that leaders provide to a group, irrespective of the source of that information, we design a public goods game in which non-binding contribution suggestions originate with either a human or computer leader. We find that group members' decisions are significantly influenced by human leaders' non-binding contribution suggestions, both when the leader is elected as well as when the leader is randomly chosen. A leader's suggestion becomes an upper bound for group member's contributions. Identical suggestions do not impact the group members' decisions when they originate with a computer, thus supporting to the view that information provided by human leaders is uniquely able to establish welfare-enhancing norms.

Suggested Citation

  • Levy, David M. & Padgitt, Kail & Peart, Sandra J. & Houser, Daniel & Xiao, Erte, 2011. "Leadership, cheap talk and really cheap talk," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 77(1), pages 40-52, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:77:y:2011:i:1:p:40-52
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    References listed on IDEAS

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