Who Do You Vote For? Same-Race Voting Preferences in Director Elections

74 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2023 Last revised: 17 Sep 2023

See all articles by Johan Sulaeman

Johan Sulaeman

National University of Singapore (NUS) - Department of Finance; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI); Asian Bureau of Finance and Economic Research (ABFER)

Qiaozhi Ye

National University of Singapore

Date Written: January 1, 2023

Abstract

This paper examines racial preferences of shareholders in the context of corporate director elections. We document a higher propensity of mutual fund managers to vote for director nominees who match their racial or ethnic identity. This same-race preferential voting pattern is more prevalent in elections involving nominees receiving negative recommendations from the dominant proxy advisor ISS. We investigate various potential channels –statistical discrimination, value maximization, conflicts of interest, social networks, and taste-based biases– using high-dimensional fixed effect models along with heterogeneity tests. Additional evidence indicates that same-race preferential voting has important consequences for director candidates' election and career outcomes.

Keywords: shareholder voting, racial preference, racial discrimination, mutual fund, director election

JEL Classification: G23, G41

Suggested Citation

Sulaeman, Johan and Ye, Qiaozhi, Who Do You Vote For? Same-Race Voting Preferences in Director Elections (January 1, 2023). European Corporate Governance Institute – Finance Working Paper No. 872/2023, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4333509 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4333509

Johan Sulaeman (Contact Author)

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Qiaozhi Ye

National University of Singapore ( email )

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