Raising the price of talk: an experimental analysis of transparent leadership

Daniel Houser, David M Levy, Kail Padgitt, Sandra J. Peart, Erte Xiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Does transparent leadership promote cooperative groups? We address this issue using a public goods experiment with exogenously selected leaders who are able to send non-binding contribution suggestions to the group. To investigate the effect of transparency in this setting we vary the ease with which a leader s actions are known by the group. We find leaders suggestions encourage cooperation in all treatments, but that both leaders and their group members are more likely to follow leaders recommendations when institutions are transparent so that non-leaders can easily see what the leader does. Consequently, transparency leads to significantly more cooperation, higher group earnings and reduced variation in contributions among group members.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-218
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • leadership
  • communication
  • cooperation
  • transparency
  • public goods gome
  • laboratory experiment

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