Women in the Boardroom: Symbols or Substance?
The central argument for increasing the number of women on corporate boards of directors has been the so-called "business case for diversity" which proposes that women and minorities add valuable new perspectives that result in enhanced corporate performance. Unfortunately, the empirical evidence for this claim is mixed, leading some researchers to suggest that women outsiders are appointed for symbolic rather than substantive reasons. Using a sample of more than 2,000 firms over the period 2001-2005, we examine the effects of women outside directors on firm performance and CEO compensation. We find no evidence that adding women outsiders to the board enhances corporate performance. We do find some evidence that male CEOs with higher levels of compensation are more likely to appoint women outsiders and that boards with more women outside members are more generous in paying the CEO. We interpret these results as consistent with the appointment of women outsiders for normative rather than profit-enhancing reasons.
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- Smith, Nina & Smith, Valdemar & Verner, Mette, 2008. "Women in Top Management and Firm Performance," Working Papers 08-12, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
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"Female Presence on Corporate Boards: A Multi-Country Study of Environmental Context,"
Journal of Business Ethics,
Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 55-63, November.
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- Carola Frydman & Dirk Jenter, 2010.
CESifo Working Paper Series
3277, CESifo Group Munich.
- Singh, Val & Terjesen, Siri & Vinnicombe, Susan, 2008. "Newly appointed directors in the boardroom:: How do women and men differ," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 48-58, February.
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