Leadership Capital: Article on Measuring Political Leadership in WEP

Mitterrand Campaign Poster 1981

Mark Bennister, Paul ‘t Hart & Ben Worthy (2014): Assessing the Authority of Political Office-Holders: The Leadership Capital Index, West European Politics, DOI: 10.1080/01402382.2014.954778

To link to this article:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01402382.2014.954778

This article argues that the extent to which political office-holders can effectively attain and wield authority is a function of the stock of ‘leadership capital’. Drawing on the concept of political capital, the article defines leadership capital as aggregate authority composed of three dimensions: skills, relations and reputation of a leader. Leadership capital ebbs and flows over time within a trajectory of acquisition, expenditure and inevitable depreciation. The article presents a Leadership Capital Index (LCI) that sys- tematically maps out the three broad areas combining concrete measures with interpretive aspects. This can be used as a tool for systematically tracking and comparing the political fortunes of leaders in a way that is both more nuanced and robust than exclu- sive reliance on the latest approval ratings. An illustrative case study of Tony Blair is used to demonstrate the LCI. The article concludes by discerning several promising paths for future development of the LCI.

You can see earlier versions our idea here.


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