Do female directors enhance R&D performance?

Ru Chen, Jamie Yixing Tong, Feida (Frank) Zhang*, Gaoguang Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    20 Citations (Scopus)


    This study examines whether and how female directors enhance innovation performance. Based on a sample of U.S. firms, this study shows that firms with more female directors on boards present a more pronounced positive association between R&D and future firm performance (measured by earnings and operating cash flow), suggesting a positive impact of female directors on R&D performance. We also examine how female directors affect two intermediate R&D performance indicators, namely innovation output and productivity. Our results show that a higher number of female directors are associated with higher innovation output (measured by the sensitivity of patents and patent citations to R&D) and higher R&D productivity (measured by the sensitivity of future sales to R&D). In the further analysis, we trace the committee that each female director sits on and find that the better R&D outcomes brought by female directors are mainly driven by their monitoring rather than advisory role. Additionally, female directors enhance the R&D outcomes by attending more board meetings.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)253-275
    Number of pages23
    JournalInternational Review of Economics and Finance
    Early online date15 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Finance
    • Economics and Econometrics

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Female directors
    • Performance
    • R&D


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