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The Effect of Leadership in a Public Bad Experiment


  • Erling Moxnes

    (Department of Information Science, University of Bergen, Norway)

  • Eline van der Heijden

    (Department of Economics, Tilburg University, The Netherlands)


In the face of global or regional environmental problems, do countries that take unilateral actions inspire other countries to curtail emissions? The effect of leadership at the individual level is investigated by the use ofa novel design ofa laboratory public bad experiment with a leader. Twelve groups of5 participants played the game twice with two treatments: 10 rounds with a leader and 10 rounds without a leader. The order ofthe treatmentswas balanced over groups. A significant (within-subject) effect of leadership is found. Followers invest, on average, 13% less in the public bad when there is a leader setting the good example as opposed to a situation with no leader. This produces benefits also to the leaders but not enough to recover all the costs of taking a leading position.

Suggested Citation

  • Erling Moxnes & Eline van der Heijden, 2003. "The Effect of Leadership in a Public Bad Experiment," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 47(6), pages 773-795, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:47:y:2003:i:6:p:773-795

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