Diagnosing Discrimination: Stock Returns and CEO Gender

19 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2006  

Justin Wolfers

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; The Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan; University of Sydney Department of Economics; The Brookings Institution; Peterson Institute for International Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2006

Abstract

A vast labor literature has found evidence of a "glass ceiling," whereby women are under-represented among senior management. A key question remains the extent to which this reflects unobserved differences in productivity, preferences, prejudice, or systematically biased beliefs about the ability of female managers. Disentangling these theories would require data on productivity, on the preferences of those who interact with managers, and on perceptions of productivity. Financial markets provide continuous measures of the market's perception of the value of firms, taking account of the beliefs of market participants about the ability of the men and women in senior management. As such, financial data hold the promise of potentially providing insight into the presence of mistake-based discrimination. Specifically if female-headed firms were systematically under-estimated, this would suggest that female-headed firms would outperform expectations, yielding excess returns. Examining data on S&P 1500 firms over the period 1992-2004 I find no systematic differences in returns to holding stock in female-headed firms, although this result reflects the weak statistical power of our test, rather than a strong inference that financial markets either do or do not under-estimate female CEOs.

Keywords: discrimination, CEOs, chief executive officer, event study, statistical discrimination, excess returns, female CEOs

JEL Classification: G14, G3, J16, J4, J7, K31, M5

Suggested Citation

Wolfers, Justin, Diagnosing Discrimination: Stock Returns and CEO Gender (January 2006). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1944. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=879756

Justin Wolfers (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States
734-764-2447 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

The Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan ( email )

735 South State Street, Weill Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-6846 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

University of Sydney Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box H58
Australia Square
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

The Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

Peterson Institute for International Economics ( email )

1750 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~jwolfers

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/en/webcontent/personnel/photos/index_html?key=1737

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cepr.org/researchers/details/rschcontact.asp?IDENT=157943

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Kiel Institute for the World Economy ( email )

P.O. Box 4309
Kiel, D-24100
Germany

Paper statistics

Downloads
195
Rank
102,669
Abstract Views
1,092