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What It Takes to Be a Leader: Leadership and Charisma in a Citizen-Candidate Model

  • Berdugo, Binyamin

This paper analyses leadership and charisma within the framework of social choice. In societies that lack formal institutional authorities, the power of leaders to coerce is limited. Under such conditions, we find that social outcomes will depend not only on policy preferences but also on how a leader's ability to transform voluntary efforts into some public good are conceived by other society members. The paper has three main results: (1) institutionalized and uninstitutionalized societies that have identical characteristics might have different political equilibria (namely, they might choose different leaders and different policies); (2) under imperfect information regarding individuals' abilities, social choice may be biased toward less competent but more charismatic leaders; and (3) in uninstitutionalized societies, less competent, more charismatic leaders can achieve more in terms of social goals and welfare than can more competent and less charismatic ones.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/11408/1/MPRA_paper_11408.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 11408.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:11408
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  1. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  2. Francesco Caselli & Massimo Morelli, 2000. "Bad politicians," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 134, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Spear, Stephen E., 1988. "An overlapping generations model of electoral competition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 359-379, December.
  4. Julio J. Rotemberg & Garth Saloner, 1993. "Leadership Style and Incentives," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(11), pages 1299-1318, November.
  5. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  6. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2001. "Lobbying and Welfare in a Representative Democracy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(1), pages 67-82, January.
  7. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  8. Friedman, Eric & Johnson, Simon & Kaufmann, Daniel & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 2000. "Dodging the grabbing hand: the determinants of unofficial activity in 69 countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 459-493, June.
  9. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
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