Leaders as Role Models for the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods

27 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2014

See all articles by Simon Gächter

Simon Gächter

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Elke Renner

University of Nottingham

Date Written: October 24, 2014

Abstract

We investigate the link between leadership, beliefs and pro-social behavior. This link is interesting because field evidence suggests that people’s behavior in domains like charitable giving, tax evasion, corporate culture and corruption is influenced by leaders (CEOs, politicians) and beliefs about others’ behavior. Our framework is an experimental public goods game with a leader. We find that leaders strongly shape their followers’ initial beliefs and contributions. In later rounds, followers put more weight on other followers’ past behavior than on the leader’s current action. This creates a path dependency the leader can hardly correct. We discuss the implications for understanding belief effects in naturally occurring situations.

Keywords: leadership, beliefs, experiments, public goods, path dependency, public policy, management

JEL Classification: C720, C900, H410, Z130

Suggested Citation

Gächter, Simon and Renner, Elke, Leaders as Role Models for the Voluntary Provision of Public Goods (October 24, 2014). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5049, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2519464

Simon Gächter (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Elke Renner

University of Nottingham ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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