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Board diversity and firm performance across Europe


Board diversity and firm performance across Europe

A. Ciavarella

Quaderno di finanza (Working Paper) No. 85 - December 2017 [PDF]

This study explores the relationship between board diversity and firm perfor-mance for a sample of companies listed in Italy, France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom. We consider different dimensions of diversity, both demographic (gender, age and nationality diversity) and cognitive or non-observable (diversity in directors' experience and education). We focus on diversity of both the entire board and its executive members only. We don't find a significant relationship between firms' performance and board diversity. However, when considering executive directors alone, results show that firms where female and foreign directors are more represented have better performance than others. As for cognitive diversity, results indicate that performance increases when directors have a longer tenure.  

Angela Ciavarella - CONSOB, Research Department, Economic Research Unit (

The author thanks Giovanni Bruno, Nadia Linciano and Giovanni Siciliano for useful comments. The author also thanks Francesco Scalese, Rossana Marenna, Marija Gvozdenovich and Valeria Chillè for very helpful contribution on the construction of the database used in this study. Of course, the author is the only responsible for errors and imprecisions. The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Consob. 


JEL Classifications: G30, G38, K38.

ISSN 2281-1915 [online]