National Leaders and Economic Growth: What Characteristics Matter?
CitationZhang, Howard. 2015. National Leaders and Economic Growth: What Characteristics Matter?. Bachelor's thesis, Harvard College.
AbstractThis paper uses data on more than 1000 national leaders between 1875 and 2005 to examine how four key individual characteristics – military experience, being a member of a political dynasty, belonging to the ethnic majority, and the number of daughters – influence the rate of economic growth. Following Jones and Olken (2005), I identify leadership transitions caused by natural deaths and illnesses to isolate the effect of leaders on economic growth, sidestepping the causality that runs between economic growth and the timing of leadership transitions. I find that even though leaders do seem to matter for economic growth, there does not seem to be substantial evidence that the identified characteristics systematically influence national growth. I then examine if these characteristics affect relevant policy outcomes. Although I do not find substantial evidence that the identified characteristics systematically influence the policy outcomes, I do find some evidence of a relationship between a leader’s ethnicity and the infant mortality rate, as well as between the number of daughters a leader has and the female and male adult mortality rates.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:14398543
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