Who's the Boss? The Effect of Strong Leadership on Employee Turnover

Susan Payne Carter, Whitney Dudley, David S. Lyle, John Z. Smith

NBER Working Paper No. 22383
Issued in July 2016, Revised in March 2017
NBER Program(s):LS

Despite the importance placed on supervision in the workplace, little is known about the effects of a boss’ leadership quality on labor market outcomes such as employee job retention. Using plausibly exogenous assignment of junior officers to bosses in the U.S. Army, we find positive retention effects for those assigned to immediate and senior bosses who are good leaders. These effects are strongest for officers with high SAT scores. Junior officers who share the same home geographic region, high SAT, and undergraduate institution as their bosses who also have strong leadership qualities retain at the highest rates.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22383

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Cohen, Ericson, Laibson, and White w22455 Measuring Time Preferences
Dell and Querubin Borrero w22395 Nation Building Through Foreign Intervention: Evidence from Discontinuities in Military Strategies
Kaestner Does Drug Use Cause Poverty?
Cheung, Chinn, and Fujii China's Current Account and Exchange Rate
Arnold Lincove and Cortes w22559 Match or Mismatch? Automatic Admissions and College Preferences of Low- and High-Income Students
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us