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