Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Edward R. Lawrence

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Chun Hao-Chang

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Min Chen

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Arun J. Prakash

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Date of Defense



This dissertation examines the effect of gender diversity on firm risk and financial performance, and on the stock ownership preferences of institutional investors. For the firm risk and financial performance analysis, we use U.S. firms listed on the S&P 500 and NSE-listed Indian companies. The two samples provide our study with the ability to study gender diversity in a developed and emerging market with distinct economic frameworks, cultural traditions, and legal environments.

Our empirical tests show that firms with more gender diversity are less risky and have higher financial performance than firms with less gender influence. These results are consistent with the notion that the addition of female directors increases the collective intelligence of the board and, thus, leads to higher quality deliberations and decision-making. The results are robust to propensity score matching which help control for endogeneity. Additionally, the results are robust to various measures of firm risk, financial performance, legal environments, industry and time fixed effects, and clustered standard errors.

Furthermore, this dissertation examines the ownership preferences of institutional investors, a group of investors known for their ability to acquire private information and analyze publicly-disclosed information quickly. Researchers find that firms with female directors tend to disclose more firm-specific information and tend to serve on monitoring-related committees. As higher disclosure and more monitoring decreases institutional investors’ incentive to collect and profit from private information, we hypothesize that they will invest less in gender diverse firms. For our empirical tests we use the data on US firms. We find that institutional investors tend to hold less shares in firms with more gender diversity. These results are robust to industry and time fixed effects, heteroscedasticity, and serial correlation.





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