Gender diversity among top executives and firm financial performance : empirical evidence from Norwegian-listed firms 2010-2016
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- Master Thesis 
There exists a gender gap in top executive positions today. Research has shown that gender diversity may have a positive impact on firm financial performance. This thesis aims to investigate the relationship between gender diversity among top executives and firm performance. In particular, we ask the following research question: What impact does gender diversity among top executives have on financial performance for Norwegian listed firms? In this context, gender diversity is defined as representation of both genders among the CEO and CFO of a firm. We examine whether gender diversity is positively linked to firm performance, as measured by return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE). In addition, we investigate whether female top executives outperform their male counterparts. Based on panel data of 93 Norwegian-listed companies from 2010 to 2016, we use multiple regression analysis to examine the gender-performance relationship. By controlling for firm-and executive-level characteristics, we are able to compare gender diversity effects across firms. The results indicate no significant relationship between gender diversity among top executives and firm performance. Further, we find that, on average, firms led by female CEOs tend to outperform firms led by male CEOs. Finally, we find no significant evidence of a relationship between the gender of the CFO and firm performance.