Article: For the few not the many? The effects of affirmative action on presence, prominence, and social capital of women directors in Norway

September 30, 2010 at 4:02 pm Leave a comment

Average proportion of women and men directors in NorwayA paper called “For the few not the many? The effects of affirmative action on presence, prominence, and social capital of women directors in Norway” that I have co-authored with Cathrine Seierstad will be published in the Scandinavian Journal of Management. Unfortunately, the copyright agreement prevents me from uploading a pdf of the published paper to this blog. However, if you have access to the Scandinavian Journal of Management, you can download the paper directly. Otherwise, a preprint of the paper is available on its supporting website: www.boardsandgender.com

The main foundation of the paper is a gender representation law that required all public limited companies to compose their boards with at least 40% of each gender by January 2008. The paper attempted to stike a balance between the urgency of studying the gender represention law and the amount of data available (the analysis relied on data from August 2009). The supporting website tries to alleviate this tension by providing up-to-date data for the analysis conducted in the paper.

The paper gathered news coverage in the major Norwegian newspapers. Online versions are available through e24.no and dn.no and Der Spiegel.

Abstract

Governments have implemented various affirmative action policies to address vertical sex segregation in organizations. A gender representation law was introduced in Norway, which required public limited companies’ boards to have at least 40 percent representation of each sex by 2008. This law acted as an external shock, and this paper aims to explore its effects. In particular, it explores the gender bias, the emergence and sex of prominent directors, and directors’ social capital. We utilize data from May 2002 to August 2009 to analyze these aspects. The implied intention of the law was to create a larger pool of women acting as directors on boards, and the law has had the effect of increasing the representation of women on boards. However, it has also created a small elite of women directors who rank among the top on a number of proxies of influence.

If you use any of the information in this post, please cite: Seierstad, C., Opsahl, T., 2011. For the few not the many? The effects of affirmative action on presence, prominence, and social capital of women directors in Norway. Scandinavian Journal of Management 27 (1), 44-54

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