Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 February 2020
Using a novel database of firm patents and board characteristics across 45 countries, we examine both within- and cross-country determinants of board gender diversity and its relation to corporate innovation. Boards are more likely to include women in countries with narrower gender gaps, higher female labor market participation, and less masculine cultures. Firms with gender diverse boards have more patents and novel patents, and a higher innovative efficiency. Further analyses suggest that gender diverse boards are associated with more failure-tolerant and long-term chief executive officer (CEO) incentives, more innovative corporate cultures, and more diverse inventors, characteristics that are conducive to an improved innovative performance.
We thank an anonymous referee, Jan Bena, Gennaro Bernile, Vineet Bhagwat, Margaret Fong, Feng Jiang, Paul Malatesta (the editor), Brian Wolfe, and Scott Yonker, and seminar participants at University at Buffalo for helpful comments. We thank Pernille Fjeld-Hansen and Joyce Guan for research assistance. Griffin and Li acknowledge financial support from the UBC-Sauder Research Award in the Economics of Pension Plans, the Hampton Fund Research Grant, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Li acknowledges financial support from the UBC Bureau of Asset Management and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Grant No. 435-2018-0037). Xu acknowledges financial support from the Robert Bertram Doctoral Research Award from the Canadian Foundation for Governance Research. All errors are our own.
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