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Political Leadership

Outsiders might expect political scientists to have well-developed theories of leadership: what it means, when it matters, and how much of an impact it has on political outcomes. They do not. Despite certain well-regarded recent works, political science has not produced a coherent analytical framework for understanding how leaders affect politics or predicting what they will do. This working group will review and discuss existing research in political science and other disciplines, with an eye toward developing novel and analytically useful approaches to the study of leadership in comparative politics and international relations. The group will meet approximately once per month during the spring semester of the 2007-2008 academic year and the fall semester of 2008-2009. It is expected that most participants will be part of the MIT community, but participation is open to professors and graduate students at other universities. Chappell Lawson, associate professor of political science at MIT, will chair the group.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology