The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

National Leadership and Economic Growth

  • Benjamin F. Jones
Reference work entry


Recent empirical analysis suggests that individual national leaders can have large impacts on economic growth. Leaders have the strongest effects in autocracies, where they appear to substantially influence both economic growth and the evolution of political institutions. These findings call for increased focus on national economic policies and the means of leadership selection, among other issues.


Leadership Growth Institutions Policy Political economy China 

JEL Classifications

O11 O43 P16 F52 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Acemoglu, D., S. Johnson, and J. Robinson. 2005. Institutions as the fundamental cause of long-run growth. In Handbook of economic growth, ed. P. Aghion and S. Durlauf. Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  2. Bertrand, M., and S. Schoar. 2003. Managing with style: The effect of managers on firm policies. Quarterly Journal of Economics 98: 1169–1208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Besley, T., and A. Case. 1995. Does political accountability affect economic policy choices? Evidence from gubernatorial term limits. Quarterly Journal of Economics 110: 769–798.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Butterfield, H. 1931. The Whig interpretation of history. London: G. Bell & Sons.Google Scholar
  5. Carlyle, T. 1837. The French revolution: A history. London: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
  6. Chattopadhyay, R., and E. Duflo. 2004. Women as policy makers: Evidence from a randomized policy experiment in India. Econometrica 72: 1409–1443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Downs, A. 1957. An economic theory of democracy. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  8. Easterly, W. 2005. National policies and economic growth: A reappraisal. In Handbook of economic growth, ed. P. Aghion and S. Durlauf. Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  9. Easterly, W., M. Kremer, L. Pritchett, and L.H. Summers. 1993. Good policy or good luck? Country growth performance and temporary shocks. Journal of Monetary Economics 32: 459–483.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fair, R.C. 1978. The effect of economic events on votes for president. Review of Economics and Statistics 60: 159–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ferraz, C., and F. Finan. 2008. Motivating politicians: The impacts of monetary incentives on quality and performance. University of California at Los Angeles, Mimeo.Google Scholar
  12. Hausmann, R., L. Pritchett, and D. Rodrik. 2005. Growth accelerations. Journal of Economic Growth 10: 303–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Johnson, W.B., R. Magee, N. Nagarajan, and H. Newman. 1985. An analysis of the stock price reaction to sudden executive deaths. Journal of Accounting and Economics 7: 151–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jones, B.F., and B.A. Olken. 2005. Do leaders matter? National leadership and growth since World War II. Quarterly Journal of Economics 120: 835–864.Google Scholar
  15. Jones, B.F., and B.A. Olken. 2008. The anatomy of start-stop growth. Review of Economics and Statistics 90: 582–587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jones, B.F., and B.A. Olken. 2009. Hit or miss? The effect of assassinations on institutions and war. American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, forthcoming.Google Scholar
  17. Kalt, J.P., and M.A. Zupan. 1984. Capture and ideology in the economic theory of politics. American Economic Review 74: 279–300.Google Scholar
  18. Levitt, S.D. 1996. How do senators vote? Disentangling the role of voter preferences, party affiliation, and senator ideology. American Economic Review 86: 425–441.Google Scholar
  19. Londregan, J., and K. Poole. 1990. Poverty, the coup trap, and the seizure of executive power. World Politics 42: 151–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marx, K. 1852. The eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon. New York: Die Revolution.Google Scholar
  21. Tolstoy, L. 1869. War and peace. Moscow: Russkii Vestnik (first English edition: 1886, New York: William S. Gottsberger).Google Scholar
  22. Tsebelis, G. 2002. Veto players: How political institutions work. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Weber, M. 1947. The theory of social and economic organization. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin F. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.