Coercive Leadership

Dimitri Landa, Scott A. Tyson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We develop a model of leadership in which an informed leader has some degree of coercive influence over her followers (agents). Agents benefit from coordination but face two distinct challenges: dispersed information and heterogeneous preferences. The leader's coercive power facilitates coordination by weakening the effect presented by both of these challenges through “binding” agents to a strategically chosen policy. The leader's policy choice becomes more informative to the agents about the leader's privately held information as her coercive capacity increases. By adjusting her policy choice in response to available private and public information, the coercive leader achieves her preferred average of agents' actions, and in so doing, neutralizes the possibly deleterious coordinating influence of public information. We develop implications of our analysis for understanding autocratic leadership in different political and organizational contexts.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)559-574
    Number of pages16
    JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jul 2017

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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