Leader Identity and Coordination

53 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Sonia R. Bhalotra

Sonia R. Bhalotra

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Irma Clots-Figueras

University of Kent

Lakshmi Iyer

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit

Joseph Vecci

University of Gothenburg

Abstract

This paper examines the effectiveness of leaders in addressing coordination failure in societies with ethnic or religious diversity. We experimentally vary leader identity in a coordination game and implement it in the field across 44 towns in India. We find that religious minority leaders (Muslims) improve coordination, while majority leaders (Hindus) do not. We test the effectiveness of intergroup contact and affirmative action, two commonly used policies to improve the well-being of minorities.Intergroup contact improves coordination irrespective of leader identity, but affirmative action leads to deterioration in coordination in Muslim-led groups alongside an increase in coordination in Hindu-led groups. We find that both policies are less effective for Muslim-led groups in towns with a recent history of religious conflict. Our findings contribute novel evidence to research on coordination failure, leader identity, policy alternatives for promoting integration of minorities, and conflict.

Keywords: coordination failure, leader identity, leader effectiveness, religion, affirmative action, intergroup contact, conflict, India

JEL Classification: P16, D70, D91, J78

Suggested Citation

Bhalotra, Sonia R. and Clots-Figueras, Irma and Iyer, Lakshmi and Vecci, Joseph, Leader Identity and Coordination. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11803, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3253461

Sonia R. Bhalotra (Contact Author)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Irma Clots-Figueras

University of Kent ( email )

Keynes College
Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NP
United Kingdom

Lakshmi Iyer

Harvard Business School - Business, Government and the International Economy Unit ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

Joseph Vecci

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

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