Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Educated Leaders, More Growth?

Do Educated Leaders Matter?

Timothy Besley, Jose Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol
Economic Journal, August 2011, Pages F205–227

Abstract: This article uses data on more than 1,000 political leaders between 1875 and
2004 to investigate whether having a more educated leader affects the rate of economic growth. We use an expanded set of random leadership transitions because of natural death or terminal illness to show, following an earlier paper by Jones and Olken (2005), that leaders matter for growth. We then provide evidence supporting the view that heterogeneity among leaders’ educational attainment is important with growth being higher by having leaders who are more highly educated.

(Nod to Kevin Lewis)

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

A recent study shows California has the most educated state legislature. It has the second-highest unemployment rate of any state. In fall 2006, its rate matched the national average. The least educated state legislature? Arkansas, which has done much better than California during the economic downturn.

dareonion said...

One anecdote does not a counterexample make.

Anonymous said...

I think California (12th in GDP per capita) need not worry about being overtaken by Arkansas (46th in GDP per capita). We can probably also agree that the unemployed in California are better off than the unemployed in Arkansas.

Anonymous said...

My bad, here's the source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_GDP#2010_List

Chris said...

What about a study looking at type of education? Could we expect to see higher growth if more engineers or physicians are in office, as opposed to those with legal or political/governmental education backgrounds? What about proportions? Higher levels of leader education accompany above-avg growth, unless everyone has the same advanced degree(s), perhaps. I bet if a legislature had 10% physicists instead of 100% attorneys, there may be a difference.

Anonymous said...

Educated in what? I am not sure how the chinese mandirans of the middle ages could have improved the growth of their country with all that calligraphy.

I would believe educated in classical liberalism improves growth. Todays version of liberal not so much.

jpblaw said...

agree with @anonymous. At first glance, sounds like the worst sort of meaningless research...

Anonymous said...

What were the conclusions? The tables cited in the results are not in any appendix I could find.

There is little substance here without the tables cited in the results section.

Anonymous said...

California ranks 49th in per-capita GDP once you adjust for the state cost of living. Check out http://isteve.blogspot.com/2005/05/standard-of-living-by-state.html. Predictably, Arkansas is easily more prosperous than California.

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