Women on Italian Bank Boards: Are They 'Gold Dust'?
33 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2013
Date Written: June 21, 2013
Italy ranks among EU countries with the fewest women on bank boards. Using a rich dataset on Italian banks that combines individual data on bank governance with different measures of performance and risk, this paper analyses the determinants of the gender gap in top positions. Econometric results suggest that there is a “second glass ceiling” as they confirm a significantly lower probability of women holding top decision-making positions (Chairman, CEO, General Manager), other individual characteristics and bank features being equal. Moreover, results show that the number of women at the top is greater a) in banks belonging to the major banking groups, with larger and younger boards; and b) in banks that are more cost efficient or in those with a larger share of risky loans in the past (in need of restructuring). Preliminary evidence from performance equations suggests that the presence of women is negatively correlated with indicators of ex post riskiness, implying that credit policies are more stringent when women are on the board, possibly due to their higher risk aversion.
Keywords: banking, corporate governance, gender diversity, board of directors
JEL Classification: G21, G34, J16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation