Published Journal Articles

Do Economics Departments Improve After They Appoint a Top Scholar as Chairperson? Kyklos, (forthcoming 2017) with John McDowell and Larry Singell

Much of human knowledge is produced in the world’s universities. There is currently little scientific evidence, however, on the determinants of productivity in those hundreds of thousands of departments. This study constructs a new dataset on departmental chairpersons in 58 US research universities over a 15-year period. One statistically robust predictor of a department’s future research output is found. After adjustment for personal and institutional characteristics, departmental productivity improves when the incoming department Chair is himself or herself highly-cited. A one-SD increase in citations is associated with a 0.5-SD later rise in departmental productivity. Possible interpretations are discussed. More...


Why The Best Hospitals Are Managed by Doctors. Harvard Business Review, (digital article), December 2016.
With James K. Stoller and Agnes Bäker. More...


If Your Boss Could Do Your Job, You're More Likely to Be Happy at Work, Harvard Business Review, (digital article), December 2016.
With Ben Artz and Andrew Oswald. More...


Boss Competence and Worker Well-Being Industrial and Labor Relations Review, (forthcoming 2017) with Ben Artz and Andrew Oswald.

Nearly all workers have a supervisor or ‘boss’. Yet there is almost no published research by economists into how bosses affect the quality of employees’ lives. We offer some of the earliest formal evidence. First, we show that a boss’s technical competence is the single strongest predictor of a worker’s well-being. Second, we provide instrumental-variable estimates. Third, we demonstrate longitudinally that even if a worker stays in the same job and workplace then a newly competent supervisor greatly improves the worker’s well-being. More...


Expert Leaders in a Fast Moving Environment The Leadership Quarterly (2015), 21 (6), p.1086–1120. With Ganna Pogrebna.

This longitudinal study explores the influence of leaders on performance in the iconic, high-technology, turbulent industry of Formula One. The evidence is evaluated through the emerging theory of expert leadership which proposes the existence of a first-order requirement: it is that leaders should have expert knowledge in the core-business of the organizations they are to lead (holding constant management and leadership experience). The study's findings provide strong support for the ‘expert leader’ hypothesis. The most successful F1 principals are disproportionately those who started their careers as drivers. More...


The future of clinical leadership: evidence for physician leadership and the educational pathway for new leaders BMJ Leader, July 2017. With James K Stoller,

Until recently, the title ‘physician leader’ was rarely heard particularly in the UK. But that is changing. Doctors are being drawn into leadership and management more systematically. More...


Special issue on leadership and Management Australasian Psychiatry: Guest editor.

Expert leadership - why psychiatrists should lead mental health services (2016), Australasian Psychiatry, Vol 24(3) 225-227 with Stephen Allison and Tarun Bastiampillai. More...

Theory of Expert Leadership (TEL) in Psychiatry Australasian Psychiatry (2016), 24(3), pp. 231-234. Leaders’ technical competence – or ‘expert knowledge’ – has been shown in many settings to be associated with better organizational performance. Results from a hospital study show that doctors instead of professional managers are most closely associated with the best performing US institutions. To explain these patterns, and raise hypotheses, a theory of expert leadership (TEL) has been developed, and the framework is applied here to psychiatry. The theory of expert leadership (TEL) suggests that psychiatric leaders, as opposed to non-expert professional managers, may improve organizational performance through several channels that are explored in this paper. More...

Research Leadership: Should Clinical Directors be Distinguished Researchers? Australasian Psychiatry (2016), 2 4 (3), pp. 249-251. With Tarun Bastiampillai and Stephen Allison. More...


Expert Leadership: Doctors Versus Managers for the Executive Leadership of Australian Mental Health Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (2016), 49 (5) 409–411. With T. Bastiampillai, M. Nance, L. Roeger and S. Allison. More...


A Theory Exploring how Expert Leaders Influence Performance in Knowledge-Intensive Organizations, with Agnes Bäker in Incentives and Performance: Governance of Knowledge-Intensive Organizations (2014). Eds; I.M. Welpe, J.Wollersheim, S.Ringelhan and M. Osterloh. Springer International Publishing. More...


Physician-Leaders and Hospital Performance: Is There an Association? Social Science and Medicine (2011), 73(4), p.535-539.

Although it has long been conjectured that having physicians in leadership positions is valuable for hospital performance, there is no published empirical work on the hypothesis. This cross-sectional study reports the first evidence. Data are collected on the top-100 U.S. hospitals in 2009 in three specialties. The CEOs are classified into physicians and non-physician managers. The paper finds a strong positive association between the ranked quality of a hospital and whether the CEO is a physician. More...


Why Do Leaders Matter? A Study of Expert Knowledge in a Superstar Setting Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization (2011), 77(3), p.265-284. With Lawrence Kahn and Andrew Oswald.

This paper provides evidence of the importance of what might be termed “expert leaders”. We deliberately choose a narrow focus. Our data are on U.S. professional basketball. The paper documents a correlation between brilliance as a player and the (much later) winning percentage and playoff success of that person as a team coach. The results reveal that leaders’ effects on performance are substantial and are visible in the data within the first 12 months of a coach being hired. More...


Experts versus Managers: A Case Against Professionalizing Management Education in Business Schools Under Fire: Humanistic Management Education As The Way Forward, Eds; W. Amann, C. Dierksmeier, M. Pirson, H. Spitzeck & E. Kimakowitz London: Palgrave Macmillan.


Substitution and Complementarity Between Managers and Subordinates: Evidence from British Football Labour Economics (2011), 18(3), p.275-286. With Susan Bridgewater and Lawrence Kahn.


Highly Cited Leaders and the Performance of Research Universities Research Policy (2009), 38(7), p.1079-1092.

There is a large literature on the productivity of universities. Little is known, however, about how different types of leader affect a university’s later performance. To address this, I blend quantitative and qualitative evidence. By constructing a new longitudinal dataset, I find that on average the research quality of a university improves some years after it appoints a president (vice chancellor) who is an accomplished scholar. More...


Why Have the Leading Journals in Management (and Other Social Sciences) Failed to Respond to Climate Change? Journal of Management Inquiry (2008) 17(4), p.408-420. Prize Winning.

The effect of climate change on business is likely to be substantial. It might be expected, therefore, that the scholarly field of business and management would be centrally engaged with the challenges that global warming will bring. Yet in this paper I show that the most-cited management journals have barely published an article on the topic. Similarly low numbers of papers appear in the prestigious journals in economics, sociology, and political science. Why have the top journals failed to respond? More...


Should Top Universities be Led by Top Researchers, and Are They? Journal of Documentation, (2006), 62(3), p.388-411.

If the best universities in the world who have the widest choice of candidates systematically appoint top researchers as their vice chancellors and presidents, is this one form of evidence that, on average, better researchers make better leaders? This paper addresses the first part of the question: are they currently appointing distinguished scholars? The study documents a positive correlation between the lifetime citations of a university s president and the position of that university in a world ranking. More...