Does stronger political leadership have a performance payoff? Citizen satisfaction and the institutional redesign of sub-central governments in England, 2000-2006

Stephen Greasley, Peter John

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An influential literature in urban political and public management debates whether political leadership, in particular the form of council government in the United States, can improve policy and other outcomes by providing coordination, control, and facilitation. The article tests whether stronger political leadership affects citizen satisfaction through the direct connection of leaders to citizens even when the possible effect of policy performance is controlled for. In addition, the article investigates whether majority and coalition governments mediate the impact of leadership. The data are drawn from English local authorities following a reform in 2000 that created separate executive bodies in councils and gave powers to political leaders. The analysis uses regression models on survey data from the English principal local authorities. The article concludes that leader powers predict citizen satisfaction but that single-party majority government does not. The article adds to the literature on the impact of the form of council government by setting out the mechanisms whereby leadership translates to positive citizen outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-256
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

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