CEO Gender and Corporate Board Structures

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Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance






The number of female executives has increased remarkably in recent years. We contribute to the investigation of the gender question by examining the relationship between the gender of the CEO and corporate board structures. We propose that gender-based behavioral differences between males and females may lead to differences in a firm’s board structure. We find evidence that female CEOs are associated with smaller boards that are more independent, more gender diversified, have a lower ratio of inside to outside directors, a broader director network, and younger directors. We also combine these individual board characteristics to capture the overall monitoring potential of the board. Our findings are consistent with the notion that boards of female CEOs are structured for more monitoring. The results are robust to using a propensity score matching sample, a sample of firms that experience a male-to-female or a male-to-male CEO transition, and to controlling for endogenous matching between firms and CEOs. Overall, our results suggest that differences in board structures between firms led by male versus female CEOs can at least be partially explained by gender-based behavioral differences.