Leadership: Who Matters

33 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2007

See all articles by Daniel Houser

Daniel Houser

George Mason University - Department of Economics; Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science

David M. Levy

George Mason University

Kail Padgitt

George Mason University

Sandra J. Peart

University of Richmond - Jepson School of Leadership Studies

Erte Xiao

Monash University

Date Written: October 2007

Abstract

Previous research provides compelling evidence that human leaders are sufficient for efficiency-enhancing leadership effects on cooperation in groups, yet little is known regarding the contexts in which human leadership is necessary in this regard. For example, a simple explanation is that leaders provide a common signal to which group members naively respond. Because it is not necessary for a common signal to originate with a human leader, such an explanation could have critically different policy implications than are suggested by currently accepted accounts of a leader's value. We here report rigorous evidence on the extent to which leadership effects in a social dilemma require human leaders. We find that group members' decisions are significantly influenced by human leaders' non-binding contribution suggestions. On the other hand, those same suggestions do not impact group members' decisions when they do not originate with human leaders.

Keywords: leadership, cooperation, public goods experiment, social dilemma

JEL Classification: C71, C92, D63, D72, H41

Suggested Citation

Houser, Daniel and Levy, David Milton and Padgitt, Kail and Peart, Sandra J. and Xiao, Erte, Leadership: Who Matters (October 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1023026 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1023026

Daniel Houser (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science ( email )

5th Floor, Vernon Smith Hall
George Mason University
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
7039934856 (Phone)

David Milton Levy

George Mason University ( email )

Carow Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2319 (Phone)

Kail Padgitt

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Sandra J. Peart

University of Richmond - Jepson School of Leadership Studies ( email )

Jepson Hall
Richmond, VA 23173
United States

Erte Xiao

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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