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This paper analyses leadership and charisma within the framework of social choice. In societies that lack formal institutional authorities, the power of leaders to coerce is limited. Under such conditions, the authors find that social outcomes will depend not only on policy preferences but also on how a leader's ability to transform voluntary efforts into some public good are conceived by other society members. Political economists have often adopted the view that after a candidate is elected for office he is authorized, as an office holder, to implement his chosen policy. This view is applicable to a variety of situations in which societies are equipped with sufficiently advanced administrative institutions that provide their leaders with coercive power.
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