Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gender Bias in Perceptions of Corruption

While doing a little reading for a paper I want to do on corruption and infrastructure, I found an interesting result in this paper. Olken finds that women in his micro data tend to report less corruption. Since I have the World Bank's Enterprise Surveys data to hand I decided to have a look and see if this was evident on the macro level. This first graph shows a fairly strong correlation between the percentage of firms with a female top manager and the percent of firms that report that corruption is a major constraint.

Of course there could just be something different about countries that have firms that have top managers who are women. As a rough comparison, the next two graphs plot country averages of female ownership and female employment in the firm at any level against corruption. The managers are the ones likely to answer the surveys and countries that have higher female management are also likely to have higher female ownership and women in the workforce in general.  There seems to be no relationship with ownership and a less pronounced one with female employment. If this finding holds up to some brute force IV macroeconometrics (which I will probably do if anyone thinks this is interesting besides me), it might have some implications for macro work on corruption.


Liam Delaney said...

There is a lot of interest in the gender composition of senior management Rob and how it effects company performance and company decisions. Michael Dowling from DCU will present on "Female Directors and UK Company Acquisitiveness" at the November 30th session.

Liam Delaney said...

Rob - below is from an email I sent to someone on this. Links might be useful

Firstly, there is now an enormous literature demonstrating gender
differences in preferences. A summary of this is below. One basic idea is that men are more tolerant of risk, less likely to diversify and
are more confident and indeed more likely to be overconfident.

The testosterone paper that I referred to is a now famous paper
published in PNAS a few years back

I should note that there is still a degree of argument about this
literature, including a very recent paper criticising the core finding.
However, I'm not sure how important it is whether gender differences
are caused by testosterone or not. I think the main thing is that
there are such big differences and that they have real-world

A Washington Post article that summarises some of the opinions of
those who have claimed that having more women on boards would mitigate
the tendency of men to bring things to the brink is below. There are a
number of other people who have written recently on that theme.