Building on social construction theory, this paper investigates how the presence of women on the board may affect access to credit because of lenders' gender-stereotyped views. In our view this translates into different levels of the firm's bank debt. To evaluate the impact of gender as a social construct, we designed a within-country analysis in Italy by distinguishing between egalitarian and non-egalitarian contexts. To test our hypotheses, we used a sample of 3514 Italian listed and unlisted firms. Results showed a lower level of bank debt for firms with a relevant number of women in the boardroom (i.e., critical mass) if located in a non-egalitarian context. This effect was partially mitigated in firms during a crisis situation. While extant research explains gender-based differences in a firm's financial structure by a change in inner-board mechanism/dynamics caused by differences in men/women characteristics, we argue that the social construction of gender may also induce lenders in different contexts to view boards with women differently in relation to access to credit.

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus: on lenders' stereotypical views and the implications for a firm's debt

D'Allura, Giorgia Maria;
2022

Abstract

Building on social construction theory, this paper investigates how the presence of women on the board may affect access to credit because of lenders' gender-stereotyped views. In our view this translates into different levels of the firm's bank debt. To evaluate the impact of gender as a social construct, we designed a within-country analysis in Italy by distinguishing between egalitarian and non-egalitarian contexts. To test our hypotheses, we used a sample of 3514 Italian listed and unlisted firms. Results showed a lower level of bank debt for firms with a relevant number of women in the boardroom (i.e., critical mass) if located in a non-egalitarian context. This effect was partially mitigated in firms during a crisis situation. While extant research explains gender-based differences in a firm's financial structure by a change in inner-board mechanism/dynamics caused by differences in men/women characteristics, we argue that the social construction of gender may also induce lenders in different contexts to view boards with women differently in relation to access to credit.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/535457
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