Supply and Demand Side Determinants of Board Gender Imbalance: The U.S. Evidence
66 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2020
Date Written: December 14, 2019
Women are heavily underrepresented in U.S. boardrooms at a time when many countries are introducing policies such as gender quotas to achieve greater gender balance in boards. To understand why, we examine how successful women are, relative to men, in finding a second board appointment after an initial appointment. We find that women do better than comparable men in terms of the quality, likelihood, and speed of the second appointment. Examining first appointments, we find that women who obtain board seats generally have significantly less leadership and work experience in quoted firms than men, but (after controlling for observable attributes) are appointed at larger firms. Our findings are consistent with the under-representation of women being more a consequence of supply-side factors: in particular, a lack of opportunities for women to rise up the corporate ladder so that only a small number of exceptionally capable women manage to be on the radar of nomination committees. We find little evidence that boards engage in either taste-based or statistical discrimination against women.
Keywords: Board Diversity, Board Gender Balance, Gender Quota, Taste-Based Discrimination, Statistical Discrimination
JEL Classification: G34, J16, G38, J31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation