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Female-Led Firms: Performance and Risk Attitudes

Author

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  • Parrotta, Pierpaolo

    () (ICN Business School)

  • Smith, Nina

    () (Aarhus University)

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between gender of the CEO and composition of the board of directors (female chairman and share of women in the boardroom) and firm's risk attitudes measured as variability in four firm outcome variables (investments, profits, return to equity, and sales). Using a merged employer-employee panel sample of Danish companies with more than 50 employees, we find extensive evidence of a negative association between female CEO and firm's risk attitudes. This finding might be consistent with the theoretical assumption according to which women typically present a substantially higher risk aversion profile and put more effort in monitoring firm activities than men in the financial matter domains. A number of robustness checks corroborate and better explain our main findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Smith, Nina, 2013. "Female-Led Firms: Performance and Risk Attitudes," IZA Discussion Papers 7613, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7613
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Du Rietz, Anita & Henrekson, Magnus, 2000. "Testing the Female Underperformance Hypothesis," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 1-10, February.
    2. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2002. "Sex Differences and Statistical Stereotyping in Attitudes Toward Financial Risk," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-03, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    3. Nina Smith & Valdemar Smith & Mette Verner, 2005. "Do Women in Top Management Affect Firm Performance? A Panel Study of 2500 Danish Firms," CIE Discussion Papers 2005-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
    4. Bertrand, Marianne, 2011. "New Perspectives on Gender," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde & Jürgen Schupp & Gert G. Wagner, 2011. "Individual Risk Attitudes: Measurement, Determinants, And Behavioral Consequences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 522-550, June.
    6. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-630, October.
    7. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
    8. Smith, Nina & Smith, Valdemar & Verner, Mette, 2011. "Why Are So Few Females Promoted into CEO and Vice-President Positions? Danish Empirical Evidence 1997-2007," IZA Discussion Papers 5961, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Nina Smith & Valdemar Smith & Mette Verner, 2013. "Why are So Few Females Promoted into CEO and Vice President Positions? Danish Empirical Evidence, 1997–2007," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(2), pages 380-408, April.
    10. Adams, Renée B. & Ferreira, Daniel, 2009. "Women in the boardroom and their impact on governance and performance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 291-309, November.
    11. Isabelle Huault & V. Perret & S. Charreire-Petit, 2007. "Management," Post-Print halshs-00337676, HAL.
    12. Hartog, Joop & Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada & Jonker, Nicole, 2002. "Linking Measured Risk Aversion to Individual Characteristics," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 3-26.
    13. Catherine C. Eckel & Philip J. Grossman, 2008. "Forecasting Risk Attitudes: An Experimental Study Using Actual and Forecast Gamble Choices," Monash Economics Working Papers archive-01, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Estrin, Saul & Stephan, Ute & Vujić, Sunčica, 2014. "Do Women Earn Less Even as Social Entrepreneurs?," IZA Discussion Papers 8650, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Devicienti, Francesco & Grinza, Elena & Manello, Alessandro & Vannoni, Davide, 2016. "Which Are the Benefits of Having More Female Leaders? Evidence from the Use of Part-Time Work in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 10314, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Mohammadi, Ali & Shafi, Kourosh, 2015. "The contribution patterns of equity-crowdfunding investors: Gender, Risk aversion and Observational learning," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 419, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    4. Theune, Katja & Behr, Andreas, 2016. "Female firm leadership. Extent and performance in 14 EU member states," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145798, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Karin Halldén & Jenny Säve-Söderbergh & Asa Rosen, 2016. "Immediate Manager Gender and Female Wages - The Importance of Manager Position," CESifo Working Paper Series 5700, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Damiani, Mirella & Ricci, Andrea, 2015. "Gender earnings differentials and pay structure of Italian family managers," MPRA Paper 61429, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    firm performance; risk aversion; female CEO;

    JEL classification:

    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance

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