The aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between gender diversity and the risk profile of Italian financial institutions during the period 2013 to 2019. The paper examines whether the presence of top executives has any significant effect on corporate risk-taking. A sample of 160 Italian financial institutions was analyzed and a multivariate regression model was developed considering five risk dimensions to verify the effect of gender diversity. The results suggest that female Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chairmans of the Board of Directors (CHAIRs) are considerably less overconfident and less risky than their male colleagues, thus confirming a negative causation between gender diversity and risk-taking. The findings reveal that financial institutions headed by women are more risk averse since they account upper capital adequacy and equity to assets ratios. As credit risk in female-run financial institutions is no diverse from male-run financial institutions, higher capital adequacy does not come from minor asset quality because it is related to the greater risk aversion of female top managers.
Key words: Gender diversity, female directors, female xsass, risk-taking, Italian financial institutions.
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