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Life of Brian Revisited: Assessing Informational and Non-Informational Leadership Tools*

  • Alexander Baturo (a1) and Slava Mikhaylov (a2)


Recent literature models leadership as a process of communication in which leaders’ rhetorical signals facilitate followers’ co-ordination. While some studies have explored the effects of leadership in experimental settings, there remains a lack of empirical research on the effectiveness of informational tools in real political environments. Using quantitative text analysis of federal and sub-national legislative addresses in Russia, this article empirically demonstrates that followers react to informational signals from leaders. It further theorizes that leaders use a combination of informational and non-informational tools to solve the co-ordination problem. The findings show that a mixture of informational and non-informational tools shapes followers’ strategic calculi. Ignoring non-informational tools—and particularly the interrelationship between informational and non-informational tools—can threaten the internal validity of causal inference in the analysis of leadership effects on co-ordination.



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Alexander Baturo is Lecturer in International Relations, School of Law and Government, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland ( Slava Mikhaylov is Lecturer in Research Methods, Department of Political Science, University College London, The Rubin Building, 29/30 Tavistock Square, London WC1 H 9QU, United Kingdom ( We would like to thank Jeffrey Kucik, Francesco Cavatorta, Iain McMenamin, David Doyle, Dinissa Duvanova and participants of the UCL Political Science Departmental Seminar Series for invaluable comments at various stages of this project. An online appendix is available at



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