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Who Makes A Good Leader? Cooperativeness, Optimism And Leading-By-Example

  • Simon Gaechter

    (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham)

  • Daniele Nosenzo

    (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham)

  • Elke Renner

    (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham)

  • Martin Sefton

    (Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics (CeDEx), University of Nottingham)

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 non-cooperators about the cooperativeness of followers. However, cooperative leaders contribute more than non-cooperative 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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Paper provided by The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham in its series Discussion Papers with number 2009-19.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cdx:dpaper:2009-19
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