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

Del Prete, Silvia and Stefani, Maria Lucia, Women on Italian Bank Boards: Are They 'Gold Dust'? (June 21, 2013). Bank of Italy Occasional Paper No. 175, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2297786 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2297786

Silvia Del Prete

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

Maria Lucia Stefani (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics