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Female-Led Firms: Performance and Risk Attitudes

  • Parrotta, Pierpaolo

    ()

    (Maastricht University)

  • Smith, Nina

    ()

    (Aarhus University)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7613.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7613
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  1. Dohmen, Thomas J. & Falk, Armin & Huffman, David & Sunde, Uwe & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2011. "Individual risk attitudes: Measurement, determinants, and behavioral consequences," Munich Reprints in Economics 20048, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Smith, Nina & Smith, Valdemar & Verner, Mette, 2005. "Do Women in Top Management Affect Firm Performance? A Panel Study of 2500 Danish Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 1708, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Bertrand, Marianne, 2011. "New Perspectives on Gender," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  4. Eckel, Catherine C. & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "Men, Women and Risk Aversion: Experimental Evidence," Handbook of Experimental Economics Results, Elsevier.
  5. Henrekson, Magnus & Du Rietz, Anita, 1999. "Testing the Female Underperformance Hypothesis," Working Paper Series 521, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Nina Smith & Valdemar Smith & Mette Verner, 2013. "Why Are So Few Females Promoted into CEO and Vice President Positions? Danish Empirical Evidence, 1997?2007," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 66(2), pages 380-408, April.
  9. 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.
  10. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
  11. 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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