Human Development and Political Leadership: The Influence of Personal History on Foreign Policy Decision

Academics, policy makers, and the electorate all take as given that the life experiences of presidents, prime ministers, and other executives profoundly affect the way they will behave once in office. Somewhat surprisingly, most international conflict research focuses primarily on system and country-level variables because those are the variables for which data currently exists. This project focuses on how differences in the personal characteristics of leaders affect decision-making and competence in situations involving conflicts between countries. This dataset encompasses factors such as education, family structure, and the military and occupational background of leaders across the globe from 1879-2004.


Allan Stam, Center for Political Studies (PI); Michael Horowitz, University of Pennsylvania (Co-PI)

American National Science Foundation (NSF)

Funding Period
September 1, 2009 - August 31, 2013