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The Glass Pyramid: Informal Gender Status Hierarchy on Boards
Keywords: Women on boards, gender category-based status beliefs, informal status structure of boards, firm outcomes
Abstract: We investigate the effect of gender on board directors’ status ranking and find that female directors’ status ranking is lower than that of male directors due to their gender. We theorize on the mechanism that determines the ways in which the status value of gender on a board affects board interactions and predict how this mechanism influences firm outcomes, including excessive managerial spending, social responsibility performance, and firm risk. We test our hypotheses in Chinese firms using an unbalanced panel that includes 5,396 firm-year observations (86,019 director-year observations) for a period of six years and find them supported.