Another Thought on Applying the Studies of Coaching to the Evaluation of Political Leaders

Posted on December 6, 2010 by


After posting — Who pays attention to sports economists?  — on Sunday morning I decided that this story would make for a good Huffington Post column. So Sunday evening I re-wrote the story and posted “Should the House Democrats Have Changed Coaches?”.

The primary difference in the two posts is a thought that occurred to me on Sunday afternoon.   Essentially Mark Mellman argued that Nancy Pelosi should keep her leadership position with the House Democrats because – as the research of J.C. Bradbury, my co-authors, and I indicated – leaders don’t have much impact on outcomes.  Therefore Pelosi shouldn’t be blamed for the outcome of the midterm elections.  Although I agree that leaders are blamed too much for failures, it occurred to me that the reverse is also true.  Specifically, leaders shouldn’t get much credit for success.  And if that is the case, what is the argument that Pelosi should keep her leadership position?  Why not just rotate these positions among the available people in Congress? 

As I note, not sure I think rotating these posts is the best way these jobs should be assigned.  But I do think that leaders are given too much blame and credit for the outcomes we observe.

– DJ

Posted in: Sports Econ