Is Gender in the Pocket of Investors? Identifying Gender Homophily Towards CEOs in a Lab Experiment

41 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019 Last revised: 27 Apr 2020

Date Written: May 3, 2019

Abstract

Women suffer from glass ceiling barriers to reaching CEO positions. We argue that the stock market reaction to CEO appointments constitutes a barrier that is external to the firm and that is important to understand because investors can influence appointment decisions by buying or selling stocks. We build a trading experiment to causally identify the role of preferences, and we find evidence of gender homophily among participants. When a female CEO is appointed, female participants buy stocks, while male participants sell stocks. The opposite holds when a male CEO is appointed. This behavioral trait combined with the lack of gender diversity in the stock market can explain both the negative stock market reaction to female CEO appointments and the underrepresentation of female CEOs.

Keywords: CEO, gender diversity, gender homophily, glass ceiling, stock market

JEL Classification: J16, M14

Suggested Citation

Longin, François and Santacreu-Vasut, Estefania, Is Gender in the Pocket of Investors? Identifying Gender Homophily Towards CEOs in a Lab Experiment (May 3, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3370078 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3370078

François Longin (Contact Author)

ESSEC Business School ( email )

Avenue Bernard Hirsch
BP 105 Cergy Cedex, 95021
France

HOME PAGE: http://www.essec.edu/faculty/francois-longin

Estefania Santacreu-Vasut

ESSEC Business School ( email )

3 Avenue Bernard Hirsch
CS 50105 CERGY
CERGY, CERGY PONTOISE CEDEX 95021
France

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