Do Gender Diversity Recommendations in Corporate Governance Codes Matter? Evidence from Audit Committees
Motivated by two opposing views, the limited supply view and the discrimination view, we examine the impact of gender diversity guidelines on the strength of the association between the presence of female audit committee members and audit quality. The limited supply view predicts that the effect of female audit committee members on audit quality would decrease after the guidelines were issued because they increased the demand for women directors without a commensurate increase in the supply of qualified women directors. The discrimination view predicts this relation would increase after the guidelines were issued since some firms would have abandoned their suboptimal hiring practices that favored men over better qualified women, resulting in higher quality firm-director matches as opportunities for women increase. Consistent with the limited supply view, we find that the positive association between audit committee gender diversity and audit quality weakened after gender diversity guidelines were introduced in Australia.