As California Goes, So Goes the Nation? The Impact of Board Gender Quotas on Firm Performance and the Director Labor Market
78 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2019 Last revised: 25 Feb 2019
Date Written: February 22, 2019
On September 30, 2018, California became the first U.S. state to introduce a mandatory board gender quota for all firms headquartered in California. We find that the introduction of the quota is associated with significantly negative announcement returns for these firms. Consistent with the quota imposing frictions, the effect is larger for firms requiring more female directors to comply with the quota and for firms with poor corporate governance. We also document negative spillover effects to non-Californian firms. They are larger for firms operating in industries in which Californian firms lack more female directors, suggesting that valuable female directors may migrate from non-Californian to Californian firms. We also document negative spillover effects for firms headquartered in states that are more likely to follow California’s lead. These are firms headquartered in states dominated by the Democratic Party and states which followed California’s lead in legalizing cannabis consumption and raising minimum wages exceeding the federal rate. Finally, we show that, already as of month-end December 2018, female representation on the boards of Californian firms increased. Newly appointed female directors are younger, less experienced, and less independent than incumbent and leaving directors.
Keywords: Board Gender Quota, Firm Value, Director Labor Market
JEL Classification: J16, J78, K38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation