CEO Age and CEO Gender: Are Female CEOs Older Than Their Male Counterparts?
18 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2017
Date Written: December 30, 2016
Motivated by the debate on gender inequality, we study CEO gender and CEO age. Because women face significantly more obstacles in advancing their careers, it may take them longer to reach the top position, i.e. the chief executive officer (CEO). If this is the case, female CEOs should be older than their male counterparts on average. Based on over 12,000 observations across 15 years, our evidence shows that female CEOs are actually younger on average, approximately two full years younger than male CEOs, after controlling for firm and board characteristics. The two-year difference represents as much as 26% of the standard deviation in CEO age. We confirm our results using several robustness tests including a fixed-effects analysis, propensity score matching, as well as an instrumental-variable analysis. The results are robust and do not appear to be driven by endogeneity. Because it is substantially harder for women to become a CEO, those who are successful must possess extraordinary skills, enabling them to be a CEO younger.
Keywords: Female CEOs, Gender Diversity, CEO Age, Women CEOs, Corporate Culture
JEL Classification: M14, G30
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