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The Qualities of Leadership: Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation


  • David P. Myatt
  • Torun Dewan


Party activists wish to (i) advocate the best policy and yet (ii) unify behind a common party line. An activist`s understanding of his environment is based on the speeches of party leaders. A leader`s influence, measured by the weight placed on her speech, increases with her judgement on policy (sense of direction) and her ability to convey ideas (clarity of communication). A leader with perfect clarity of communication enjoys greater influence than one with a perfect sense of direction. Activists can choose how much attention to pay to leaders. A necessary condition for a leader to monopolize the agenda is that she is the most coherent communicator. Sometimes leaders attract more attention by obfuscating their messages. A concern for party unity mitigates this incentive; when activists emphasize following the party line, they learn more about their environment.

Suggested Citation

  • David P. Myatt & Torun Dewan, 2007. "The Qualities of Leadership: Direction, Communication, and Obfuscation," Economics Series Working Papers 311, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:311

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Leadership; Direction; Coordination; Communication; Oligarchy;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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