Public Attention to Gender Equality and the Demand for Female Directors

55 Pages Posted: 25 Mar 2020

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 2020

Abstract

We explore whether demand factors contribute to low female board participation. We use time-varying public attention to gender equality as a shock that differentially affects the demand for female directors of firms with different ex ante culture towards gender equality. 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. Furthermore, 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.

Suggested Citation

Giannetti, Mariassunta and Wang, Tracy Yue, Public Attention to Gender Equality and the Demand for Female Directors (March 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14503. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3560311

Mariassunta Giannetti (Contact Author)

Stockholm School of Economics ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

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Belgium

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Swedish House of Finance ( email )

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111 60 Stockholm
Sweden

Tracy Yue Wang

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

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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