Gender Quotas: Challenging the Boards, Performance and the Stock Market

Number: 92
Year: 2016
Author(s): Giulia Ferrari, Valeria Ferraro, Paola Profeta, Chiara Pronzato
In 2011, Italy introduced board gender quotas in listed companies. Comparing within firms before-after reform changes, we document that quotas are associated with a higher share of female board directors, with higher levels of education of board members and a lower share of elderly members. We then use the reform period as an instrument for the share of female directors and find no significant impact on firms’ performance. Interestingly, we find that the share of female directors is associated to a lower variability of stock market prices. We also run event studies on the stock price reaction to the introduction of gender quotas. A positive effect of the quota law on stock market returns emerges at the date of board’s election. Our results are consistent with gender quotas inducing a beneficial renovation of the board, which is positively received by the market.

Giulia Ferrari


Valeria Ferraro
Boston College


Paola Profeta
Bocconi University and Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy


Chiara Pronzato
University of Turin


Language: English


The paper may be downloaded here.


Keywords: education,age,. financial markets