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The Changing of the Boards: The Impact on Firm Valuation of Mandated Female Board Representation

Kenneth Ahern () and Amy K. Dittmar

The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2012, vol. 127, issue 1, 137-197

Abstract: In 2003, a new law required that 40% of Norwegian firms' directors be women--at the time only 9% of directors were women. We use the prequota cross-sectional variation in female board representation to instrument for exogenous changes to corporate boards following the quota. We find that the constraint imposed by the quota caused a significant drop in the stock price at the announcement of the law and a large decline in Tobin's Q over the following years, consistent with the idea that firms choose boards to maximize value. The quota led to younger and less experienced boards, increases in leverage and acquisitions, and deterioration in operating performance. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

Date: 2012
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The Quarterly Journal of Economics is currently edited by Robert J. Barro, Elhanan Helpman, Lawrence F. Katz and Andrei Schleifer

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