Leadership and the effective choice of information regime

Mana Komai, Philip J. Grossman, Evelyne Benie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Economic research suggests that, in some circumstances, exogenously restricting the information leaders can provide to followers can overcome the free-riding problem and coordination failures, and improve efficiency in collective actions. The reason is that a leader’s information advantage can deprive followers of the information necessary for profitable defection. In this paper, we focus on situations where the decision to restrict access to information is an endogenous choice made by the leader. We experimentally investigate if leaders choose to strategically withhold information when appropriate to improve outcomes. To address this question, we adopt a single-shot collective action game in which a leader–follower setting with information advantage for the leader can potentially solve the free-riding problem and coordination failures. Our results suggest that leaders, in many circumstances, fail to utilize their information advantage to improve efficiency. This implies that groups may benefit if a nontransparent information regime is exogenously imposed on them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-129
Number of pages13
JournalTheory and Decision
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Coordination
  • Free-riding
  • Leadership
  • Transparency

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