Laurent Weill (University of Strasbourg) - Dictators’ facial characteristics and foreign direct investment

Co-authors: Abel Francois (University of Lille) and Sophie Panel (Sciences Po Grenoble)

This paper investigates whether foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows are higher in countries ruled by trustworthy-looking or competent-looking leaders. After collecting pictures of 276 nondemocratic leaders in office between 1975 and 2010, we use a computer-based survey to assess how these faces are spontaneously perceived by ordinary people for trustworthiness and competence. We perform regression analysis to evaluate the relationship between leaders’ facial characteristics and FDI inflows. We find that competent-looking leaders attract more FDI inflows. However, there is no evidence that trustworthy-looking leaders attract more FDI inflows.

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