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Does the gender quota law affect bank performances? Evidence from Italy

Romilda Mazzotta (Department of Business Administration and Law, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy)
Olga Ferraro (Department of Business Administration and Law, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 13 August 2020

Issue publication date: 21 August 2020




This study aims to examine the impact of an increasing board diversity on the performance of Italian listed banks for the period 2008–2014, taking into account the effects of the implementation of gender quota laws in Italy. The study also investigates the effects of this potential relationship during the crisis that Italy had to cope with since 2011, as well as the potential impact of female directors and their roles on bank boards.


To verify this relationship, the study uses a panel sample of 22 listed banks and applies fixed effects with the Driscoll-Kraay error. Considering the shareholders’ perspective, bank performance (BP) is measured by return on average equity. The robustness of results is verified through return on average assets, Tobin’s Q (a market measure from investors/stakeholders’ perspective) and an alternate estimation model, i.e. GMM.


The findings highlight a positive relationship between the performance accounting measures and gender diversity, a non-neutral impact of the presence of female directors on boards and a significant and negative effect on market measures.

Research limitations/implications

The results of the study, as far as accounting measures are concerned, support managerial and legislative efforts toward more gender-balanced boards and the appointment of female directors in executive or independent roles. As per market measures, the results suggest that the presence of women on boards should be considered advantageous in terms of value, so that the market can finally appreciate diverse bank boards.


First, previous studies did not provide exhaustive results to document the proposed relationship and did not examine this relationship during a financial crisis. Second, the role of female directors on boards is also taken into account. Third, the study highlighted that BP is a multi-dimensional construct, with accounting and market metrics being its distinct dimensions.



The authors thank the anonymous referee for his/her helpful comments.Author Contributions: Both authors wrote the paper, but their primary individual contributions are reflected as follows: Sections … .


Mazzotta, R. and Ferraro, O. (2020), "Does the gender quota law affect bank performances? Evidence from Italy", Corporate Governance, Vol. 20 No. 6, pp. 1135-1158.



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