Entrepreneurs' facial trustworthiness, gender, and crowdfunding success

Yang DUAN*, Tien Shih HSIEH, Ray R. WANG, Zhihong WANG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines whether and how entrepreneurs' facial trustworthiness is associated with the success of their crowdfunding campaigns. We adopt a novel dataset extracted from the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform and employ machine learning-based facial detection techniques to construct a comprehensive index that measures facial trustworthiness for our investigation. Our results suggest that entrepreneurs' facial trustworthiness is positively associated with crowdfunding campaign success. Specifically, trustworthy-looking entrepreneurs receive a 13.1% greater pledge amount and attract 4.8% more backers in their crowdfunding campaign as compared to those who are untrustworthy-looking. We also find that the facial trustworthiness of female entrepreneurs plays a more prominent role in determining project success than that of male entrepreneurs. Our results are robust to a series of additional analyses and sensitivity checks. Overall, the results of our study suggest that entrepreneurs' facial trustworthiness is an important factor that affects funders' decision-making process in reward-based crowdfunding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101693
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Corporate Finance
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Crowdfunding
  • Facial trustworthiness perception
  • Gender


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