Does Confucianism Reduce Board Gender Diversity? Firm-Level Evidence from China
- 1.2k Downloads
This study extends previous literature on the association between Confucianism and corporate decisions by examining Confucianism’s influence on board gender diversity. Using a sample of Chinese listed firms during the period of 2001–2011 and geographic-proximity-based Confucianism variables, I provide strong and consistent evidence to show that Confucianism is significantly negatively associated with board gender diversity, suggesting that the proportion of women directors in the boardroom is significantly lower for firms surrounded by strong Confucianism atmosphere than for firms located in regions with weak Confucianism atmosphere. This finding also implies that Confucian philosophical system has important impacts on business ethics and women’s status in corporate governance. Moreover, GDP per capita, the proxy for economic development level in a province in which a firm is located, attenuates the negative association between Confucianism and board gender diversity. Above results are robust to different measures of Confucianism and board gender diversity and are still valid after controlling for the potential endogeneity between Confucianism and board gender diversity.
KeywordsConfucianism Board gender diversity GDP per capita Geographic-proximity-based Confucianism variable Women directors in the boardroom
I am especially grateful to the section editor (Prof. Domènec Melé) and two anonymous reviewers for their many insightful suggestions and constructive comments. I also appreciate valuable comments Hongmei Pei, Quan Zeng, Yingying Chang, and participants of my presentations at the symposium on “the impacts of macroeconomic policies on corporate behavior” (hosted by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and Guanghua School of Management, Beijing University), Xiamen University, Ocean University of China, Shandong University, and Shanghai University. Moreover, Prof. Xingqiang Du acknowledge financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (approval number: 71072053), the Key Project of Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Science in Ministry of Education (approval number: 13JJD790027), the Specialized Research Fund for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China (approval number: 20120121110007), and Xiamen University’s Prosperity Plan Project of Philosophy and Social Sciences (the sub-project for Center for Accounting Studies and the sub-project for School of Management).
- Berthrong, J. H. (1998). Transformations of the Confucian way. Colorado: West View Press.Google Scholar
- Blau, P. M. (1977). Inequality and heterogeneity. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Boarini, R., Johansson, Å., & d’Ercole, M. M. (2006). Alternative measures of well-being. New York: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
- Bulger, C. M. (2000). Fighting gender discrimination in the Chinese workplace. BC Third World LJ, 20, 345.Google Scholar
- Cavana, P., Delahaye, B., & Ching, K. (2001). Applied business research. Brisbane: Wiley-IEEE Press.Google Scholar
- Confucius. (2003a). Analects. (E. Slingerland, Trans.). Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- Confucius. (2003b). The main concepts of Confucianism. Retrieved August 21, 2014, from www.philosophy.lander.edu.
- Davidson, M. J., & Cooper, C. L. (1992). Shattering the glass ceiling: The woman manager. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.Google Scholar
- DeFond, M., Francis, J., & Hu, X. (2011). The geography of SEC enforcement and auditor reporting for financially distressed clients. SSRN. http://ssrn.com/abstract=1132885.
- Ebrey, P. (2003). Women and the family in Chinese history. London: Rutledge.Google Scholar
- Elman, B. A., Duncan, J. B., & Ooms, H. (Eds.). (2002). Rethinking Confucianism: Past and present in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. Los Angeles: UCLA Asian Pacific Monograph Series.Google Scholar
- Fan, G., Wang, X., & Zhu, H. (2011). The report on the relative process of Marketization of each region in China (in Chinese). Beijing: The Economic Science Press.Google Scholar
- Fei, H. T. (1939). Peasant Life in China. London: Hesperides Press.Google Scholar
- Guthrie, D. (2008). China and globalization: The social, economic and political transformation of Chinese Society. London: Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
- Hong (Fincher), L. (2014). Leftover women: The resurgence of gender inequality in China. Retrieved December 4, 2014, from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/05/leftover-women-gender-inequality-china.
- Hunt, S. D., & Vitell, S. J. (2006). The general theory of marketing ethics: A revision and three questions. Journal of Macro-marketing, 26(2), 1–11.Google Scholar
- Jayachandran, S. (2014). The roots of gender inequality in developing countries (No. w20380). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.Google Scholar
- Jeff, H. (2008). Confucianism, men and women. Facts and details: China. Retrieved November 12, 2013, from http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=105&catid=4&subcatid=21#02.
- Jiang, J. P. L. (1987). Confucianism and modernization: A symposium. Taipei (China): Freedom Council Press.Google Scholar
- Korabik, K. (1992). Women hold up half the sky: the status of managerial women in China. Advances in Chinese industrial studies, 3, 197–211.Google Scholar
- Kramer, V. W., Konrad, A. M., Erkut, S., & Hooper, M. J. (2006). Critical mass on corporate boards: Why three or more women enhance governance. Boston: Wellesley Centers for Women.Google Scholar
- Lee, C. K. (1998). Gender and the south China miracle: Two worlds of factory women. Oakland (California): University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Liu, S.-H. (1998). Understanding Confucian philosophy: Classical and Sung-Ming. New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
- Mann, S., & Cheng, Y. Y. (2001). Under Confucian eyes: Writings on gender in Chinese history. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Marcus, R. (2014). Chinese women face a political ceiling that’s hard to shatter. Retrieved December 4, 2014, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ruth-marcus-chinese-women-face-a-political-ceiling-thats-hard-to-shatter/2014/05/30/cfbee3ac-e818-11e3-a86b-362fd5443d19_story.html.
- Meyerson, D. E., & Fletcher, J. K. (2000). A modest manifesto for shattering the glass ceiling. Harvard Business Review, 78(1), 126–136.Google Scholar
- Morrison, A. M., White, R. P., & Van Velsor, E. (Eds.). (1992). Breaking the glass ceiling: Can women reach the top of America’s largest corporations? New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Ono, K. (1989). Chinese women in a century of revolution, 1850–1950. Oakland: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Rhode, D., & Packel, A. K. (2010). Diversity on corporate boards: How much difference does difference make? Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, Working Paper, No. 89.Google Scholar
- Rising, B. (2000). SPHDIST: Stata module to compute spherical distances. Statistical software components S372502 (Boston College Department of Economics). Retrieved November 21, 2013, from http://ideas.repec.org/c/boc/bocode/s372502.html#refs.
- Rosenlee, L. H. L. (2012). Confucianism and women: A philosophical interpretation. New York: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
- Sackmann, S. A. (1997). Cultural complexity in organizations: Inherent contrasts and contradictions. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications Inc.Google Scholar
- Shen, P. (2014). Chinese women still face “the silk ceiling”. Retrieved December 5, 2014, from http://china.cankaoxiaoxi.com/2014/0603/396258.shtml.
- Stacey, J. (1984). Patriarchy and socialist revolution. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Tamney, J. B., & Chiang, L. H. (2002). Modernization, globalization, and Confucianism in Chinese societies. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
- Tan, J. Y. (1967). Confucianism and neo-Confucianism. In New. Catholic (Ed.), Encyclopedia. New York: McGraw-Hill Book.Google Scholar
- Taylor, R. L. (2005). The illustrated encyclopedia of Confucianism. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group.Google Scholar
- Tu, W.-M. (1985). Confucian thought: Selfhood as creative transformation. New York: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
- UNEGEEW. (2010). UN women in China. Retrieved December 5, 2014, from http://www.unwomen-eseasia.org/docs/factsheets/02%20CHINA%20factsheet.pdf.
- Vaidyanathan, B. (2008). Corporate giving: a literature review. Working Paper, Center for the Study of Religion and Society. Indiana: University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar
- Walter, S. (2014). How does Confucian dynamism influence national innovativeness? Hamburg: Anchor Academic Publishing.Google Scholar
- Wooldridge, J. M. (1995). Score diagnostics for linear models estimated by two stage least squares. In G. S. Maddala, P. C. B. Phillips, & T. N. Srinivasan (Eds.), Advances in econometrics and quantitative economics: Essays in honor of professor Rao C. R. (pp. 66–87). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- World Economic Forum (2013). The global gender gap report 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2014, from www.weforum.org.
- Wu, Z. (2009). Gender inequalities of the labor market during market transition. Economic Theory and Policy Research, 2(1), 87–98. (In Chinese).Google Scholar
- Yu, Y. (1996). Xiandai Ruxue Lun. River Edge: Global Publishing Co., Inc.Google Scholar
- Yuan, L. (2005). Reconceiving women’s equality in China: A critical examination of models of sex equality. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.Google Scholar