Public Attention to Gender Equality and the Demand for Female Directors

65 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2019

See all articles by Mariassunta Giannetti

Mariassunta Giannetti

Stockholm School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Swedish House of Finance

Tracy Yue Wang

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Date Written: March 26, 2019

Abstract

We show that public attention to gender equality has different effects on the implicit attitudes towards career women of individuals with different ex ante preferences and beliefs. On this basis, we conjecture that public attention to gender equality should affect differently the demand for female directors of firms with different ex ante culture. We find that public attention is associated with an increase in female board representation, especially in firms whose ex ante culture is more sympathetic to gender equality. There is no evidence that the effects of public attention to gender equality are limited by the supply of eligible directors. Public attention to gender equality changes the way female directors are recruited. First, the pool of female directors broadens without any obvious compromises on quality. Second, public attention to gender equality reduces the probability that connected men are appointed, leading to higher female board representation.

Keywords: Boards, Gender, Public attention, Networks

JEL Classification: G3, M5, D22

Suggested Citation

Giannetti, Mariassunta and Wang, Tracy Yue, Public Attention to Gender Equality and the Demand for Female Directors (March 26, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3341518 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3341518

Mariassunta Giannetti

Stockholm School of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 6501
Sveavagen 65
SE-113 83 Stockholm
Sweden
+46 8 736 9607 (Phone)
+46 8 312 327 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/mariassuntagiannetti/Home

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

Swedish House of Finance ( email )

Drottninggatan 98
111 60 Stockholm
Sweden

Tracy Yue Wang (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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