Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 16/2022: Gender diversity, labour in the boardroom and gender quotas

Astrid Kunze () and Katrin Katrin Scharfenkamp ()
Additional contact information
Astrid Kunze: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH, Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
Katrin Katrin Scharfenkamp: University of Bielefeld

Abstract: This study investigates boards of (non-executive) directors and whether employee representation has a positive effect on gender diversity on boards. We exploit rich, newly assembled board–director matched panel data for Norway and Germany, which contain unique information on whether a director represents shareholders or employees during the period around 2008, when a Norwegian board gender quota came into effect. We present two novel results that challenge previous thinking about the effects of board gender quotas on women directors. First, we find a positive impact of employee representation before the gender quota reform on gender diversity. Second, although the Norwegian gender quota has increased the probability of a director being female, the effect through employee representation has relatively decreased after and the implementation of the reform. We discuss potential mechanisms and implications for the design of co-determination laws and gender quotas.

Keywords: Affirmative action; employee representation; shared governance; co-determination; women; boards of directors; firm size

JEL-codes: G30; J16; K30; L21; L25; M54

Language: English

51 pages, October 31, 2022

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