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The Wise, the Politician and the Strongman: National Leaders' Type and Quality of Governance

Julieta Peveri ()
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Julieta Peveri: AMSE - Aix-Marseille Sciences Economiques - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université

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Abstract: There is strong evidence that national leaders matter for the performance of their nations, but little is known about what drives the direction of their effects. I assess how national leaders' quality of governance, measured by five indicators, varies with their career and education. Using text analysis and a sample of one thousand national leaders between 1932 and 2010, I identify five types of rulers: military leaders, academics, high-level politicians, low-level politicians and lawyers. Military leaders tend to be associated with a decrease in the quality of governance, whereas politicians who have held visible offices before taking power perform better. National leaders with a law background, as well as academics, can have negative effects depending on the political regime they run and on the choice of performance indicator. This highlights the heterogeneity behind the positive effect of holding a university degree, often used as a proxy for politicians' quality.

Keywords: national leaders; politicians' quality; leaders' characteristics (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol
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