Research ArticleSOCIAL SCIENCES

Leadership or luck? Randomization inference for leader effects in politics, business, and sports

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  20 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 4, eabe3404
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abe3404

Abstract

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some leaders are more effective than others but observed differences in outcomes between leaders could be attributable to chance variation. To solve this inferential problem, we develop a quantitative test of leader effects that provides more reliable inferences than previous strategies, and we implement the test in the settings of politics, business, and sports. We find significant effects of political leaders, particularly in nondemocracies. We find little evidence that chief executive officers influence the performance of their firms. In addition, we find clear evidence that sports coaches matter for a wide range of outcomes in football, basketball, baseball, and hockey.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances