Not available in 2017/18
GV308      Half Unit
Leadership in the Political World

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Torun Dewan


This course is available on the BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Politics and Philosophy. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

This course is capped at one group.  Deadline for enrolments is 12 noon Friday 30th September.


Students must have completed Public Choice and Politics (GV225).

Course content

Good leadership is central toward having effective organisations, well functioning institutions, and attaining desirable policy outcomes. But what is good leadership? What is successful leadership? Can we distinguish outcomes as causally related to the actions taken by good and successful leaders? And how important is a leader’s style? The course will look at both theoretical and empirical frameworks for analysing these questions developing in particular rational  choice accounts of leadership. Different notions of  leadership will be discussed including: (1) Leading by Example; (2) The Leader as a Focal Point and (3) The Leader as an information source. These will be illustrated by specific examples.


22 hours of seminars in the LT.

There will be a reading week in week 6 of the LT for private study and assessment preparation.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 presentation in the LT.

Indicative reading

Ahlquist, JS. and M. Levi. 2011). ``Leadership: What it means, what it does, and what we want to know about it''. Annual Review of Political Science. vol. 14.

Besley, T and Marta Reynal-Querol (2009) ``Do Democracies Select More Educated Leaders?'', American Political Science Review, 105,3

Humphreys, M., Masters, W., and Sandbu, M. E. (2006). The role of leadership in democratic deliberations: Results from a field experiment in Sao Tome and Principe. World Politics,

Jones, B and Olken, B (2005) ‘Do Leaders matter? National Leadership and Growth since World War 2’, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120, 3, 835--864

Schelling, T (1980), The Strategy of Conflict,  Chapter 4

Shepsle, K and M. Boncheck (1997), Analyzing Politics, Chapter 14



Essay (75%, 5000 words) and in class assessment (25%).


In preparation for each class, students will read one or two core texts on political leadership and write a one page piece that reflecting upon these readings. This will then be used as a basis for class discussion. This will be marked as follows: completion and quality of the weekly statements (10%) and in class participation (10%). Each student will also be asked to produce a brief outline and 5 min presentation on the final essay (5%)

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2016/17: 8

Average class size 2016/17: 9

Capped 2016/17: Yes (8)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills