Public Attention to Gender Equality and the Demand for Female Directors
65 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 26, 2019
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: Suggested Citation