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Learning to Manage and Managing to Learn: The Effects of Student Leadership Service

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Employers and colleges value individuals with leadership service, but there is limited evidence on whether leadership service itself creates skills. Identification in this context has proved di cult because settings in which leadership service accrues to individuals for ostensibly random reasons are rare. In this study we estimate the e ects of random assignment to classroom leadership positions in a Chinese secondary school. We find that leadership service increases test scores, increases students’ political popularity in the classroom, makes students more likely to take initiative, and shapes students’ beliefs about the determinants of success. The results suggest that leadership service may impact human capital and is not solely a signal of preexisting skills.

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