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The authors examine the characteristics of effective leaders in a simple leader-follower voluntary contributions game. They focus on two factors: the individual's cooperativeness and the individual's beliefs about the cooperativeness of others. They find that groups perform best when led by those who are cooperatively inclined. Partly this reflects a false consensus effect: cooperative leaders are more optimistic than non-cooperators about the cooperativeness of followers. However, cooperative leaders contribute more than non-cooperative leaders even after controlling for optimism. They conclude that differing leader contributions by differing types of leader in large part reflects social motivations.
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