A national leader is the policy maker in a country, whose economical decisions hold the power to make a nation either prosper or collapse. Therefore, it becomes crucial to understand the official who enact these decisions. A unique dataset of over 326 world leaders from 51 countries between the period 1972 to 2018 was constructed, building on leader Experience and Attribute Descriptions Database, in order to study the differences in leaders’ characteristics and determine the most important attributes which significantly affect level of GDP per capita. This paper studies the effect of government leaders’ profiles on GDP per capita by analyzing the national leaders’ biographical background and formal occupational experiences prior to assuming power along with assessing the impact of country’s political environment. The annual inflation rate, the country’s debt, the gross capital formation and inflow of foreign direct investment are used as control variables. Using an unbalanced panel data model with country and year fixed effect, the overall finding reveals that leaders who had military career and have children, while governing in a democratic state or a civilian dictatorship, have a positive impact on GDP per capita. Factors such as level of education whether formal or military have an adverse effect along with being an engineer or a blue collar.


Management Department

Degree Name

MS in Finance

Graduation Date

Winter 1-14-2021

Submission Date


First Advisor

Dr Islam Azzam

Committee Member 1

Dr. Jasmin Fouad

Committee Member 2

Dr. Wael Abdallah


53 p

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item