Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 136, Issue 3, pp 599–621 | Cite as

Gender Diversity in the Boardroom and Risk Management: A Case of R&D Investment



Increasing gender diversity in the boardroom has been promoted as a way to enhance corporate governance and risk management. This study empirically examines whether boards with more female directors play a role in reducing R&D risk. We first show that female directors help to reduce the positive relationship between R&D investment and future performance volatility. We then report that firms with more gender-diverse boards exhibit a lower adverse effect of R&D on the cost of debt. These results are robust to endogeneity analysis, alternative measures of gender diversity and risky investment, and other sensitivity tests. Overall, our results suggest that female directors improve board effectiveness in risk management with respect to R&D investment.


Female director Diversity R&D Risk management 



We gratefully acknowledge generous research support from China Europe International Business School. Jamie Y. Tong also would like to express appreciation for the financial support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (approval number: 71002058, 71202090, 71202091).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.China Europe International Business SchoolShanghaiChina
  2. 2.University of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia

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